Enhanced External Counterpulsation in the Treatment of Chronic Refractory Angina: A Long-term Follow-up Outcome from the International Enhanced External Counterpulsation Patient Registry




The management of patients who suffer from medically refractory angina and are unsuitable for conventional revascularization therapy is often unsatisfactory. Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) is a noninvasive treatment that is safe and effective immediately after a course of treatment. However, the duration of benefit is less certain.


To evaluate the 3-year outcome of EECP treatment.


One thousand four hundred and twenty seven patients from 36 centers registered in the International EECP Patient Registry (IEPR)—Phase 1 was prospectively followed for a median of 37 months. Two hundred and twenty patients (15.4%) died, while 1,061 patients (74.4%) completed their follow-up.


The mean age was 66 ± 11 years and 72% were men. Seventy-six percent had multivessel coronary disease for 11 ± 8 years. Eighty-eight percent had a prior percutaneous or surgical revascularization and 82% were unsuitable for further coronary intervention.

Immediately post-EECP, the proportion of patients with severe angina (Canadian Cardiovascular Angina Classification [CCS] III/IV) were reduced from 89% to 25%, p<0.001. The CCS class was improved by at least 1 class in 78% of the patients and by at least 2 classes in 38%. This was sustained in 74% of the patients during follow-up.

Thirty-six percent of the patients had CCS II or less angina, which was better than pre-EECP state without a major adverse cardiovascular event during follow-up. More severe baseline angina and a history of heart failure or diabetes were independent predictors of unfavorable outcome.


An EECP improves angina and quality of life immediately after a course of treatment. For most of the patients, these beneficial effects are sustained for 3 years. Copyright © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.