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Is enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) effective in treating triple vessel coronary artery disease?

Q: My 71 years old father has been diagnosed with triple vessel coronary artery disease after a radial angiography. This disease has resulted in 70% blocks in his left anterior descending (LAD), left circumflex (LCX) and right coronary arteries (RCA). The doctors have recommended a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), even though he is above 70 years of age and slightly diabetic and also suffers from mild hypertension. However, we have come across a therapy- EECP (external counter pulsation) that is being carried out in some centers. Is EECP treatment effective and can my father undergo this therapy? Does it rule out the option of going for CABG?

A:EECP is an option for ‘no option’ patients. In other words, it is for those terminally ill patients getting unstable angina and who are not suitable for CABG or angioplasty. It is not a first line treatment and is not recommended as a first line treatment because its benefits are only marginal. However, EECP does not rule out the option for going for CABG and there is no time lag required between EECP and performance of CABG.

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