Background The Multicenter Study of Enhanced External Counterpulsation (MUST-EECP) was the first prospective, randomized, blinded, sham-controlled study of enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) in the treatment of chronic stable angina. We previously reported that EECP therapy lengthens the time to exercise-induced myocardial ischemia and reduces angina. We now describe the effects of EECP therapy versus a sham-treated control group in terms of patients' functioning, their senses of well-being and other Health-Related Quality Of Life (HQOL) parameters from baseline to end of treatment and from baseline to 12 months after treatment.
Objective To determine whether a 35-hour course of EECP affects the HQOL of patients with symptomatic coronary artery disease, 12 months following treatment.
Methods Seventy-one of the 139 patients enrolled in MUST-EECP provided evaluable patient-completed questionnaires at baseline, at the end of treatment, and 12 months post-treatment. The Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey and the Quality of Life Index-Cardiac Version III were used to assess effects on HQOL.
Results Both groups had similar HQOL scores at baseline. At end of treatment and at 12-month follow up, patients who had active-CP reported greater improvement than those who had inactive-CP in all nine quality of life scales, including ability to perform activities of daily living, ability to work, bodily pain, confidence in health, energy, ability to engage in social activities with family and friends, anxiety and depression, and quality of life issues from the effects of angina on health and functioning. Despite small sample sizes, active-CP patients demonstrated significantly greater improvement at 12 months following treatment in bodily pain, social functioning, and quality of life specific to cardiac patients compared with inactive-CP patients.
Conclusion Significant health-related quality of life improvements were measurable up to 12 months after the completion of treatment with EECP. Improvements in this controlled study are consistent with HQOL changes reported in case series and patient registries. Larger studies are warranted.