EECP for Hypertension?
Many speculate as to whether EECP is an effective treatment for hypertension. The research shows that EECP has a significant impact on improving edothelial function which generally leads to improvement in vascular elasticity or vascular compliance. By following this theory, does this also make EECP an effective treatment for hypertension?
Most of us identify EECP as (Enhanced External Counterpulsation) an outpatient treatment used for treating smptoms of angina that are ischemic in origin. EECP is normally indicated for patients that suffer from symptoms of chest pain, but clinical research indicates there are many ancillary benefits delivered to patients that complete the 35 day treatment course. However, blood pressure is generally monitored during treatment and anectotal data suggests that blood pressure is lowered during the actual treatment and immediately after each treatment. The question remains, is this reduction in blood pressure sustainable for any length of time after the treatment?
The concept of EECP is an external circulatory assist device that provides benefit by improving perfusion (increased pathways) in the coronary arteries as well as other parts of the body. For inactive elderly patients, EECP Therapy is effective in decreasing the work load of the heart while simultaneously improving the elasticity (ability to dilate) of the blood vessels. This improvement in elasticity lowers blood pressure while treatment & shortly thereafter, but no studies have been performed to monitor the effect on long term ambulatory blood pressure.
Recently, there was a new article published in Clinical Cardiology with the specific intent to investigate the long term effect of EECP with Ambulatory Blood Pressure (ABP). The study was conducted with 50 patients monitoring ABP 2 months before, several times during the study as well as 3 and 12 months post EECP procedure. Although the results clearly indicated a reduction in ABP during treatment, the long term ABP remained virtually the same. Although the study concludes that EECP is not an effective tool for sustaining a lower ABP, the study further reiterated the significant reduction in Angina Classification among the study group.
Clin.Cardiol, 36, 1, 21-24 (2013)