Enhanced External Counterpulsation Eases ‘Long COVID’

Improvements seen in symptoms of fatigue, breathing difficulties, 6-minute walk test with EECP treatment

HealthDay News — For patients with “long COVID,” enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) treatment is associated with improvement in symptoms, including fatigue and breathing difficulties, according to a study presented at the American College of Cardiology virtual Cardiovascular Summit, held February 16 to 19.

Mohanakrishnan Sathyamoorthy, MD, from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, and colleagues conducted a retrospective evaluation of electronic health records of patients referred to EECP treatment. All patients had long COVID symptoms, with or without coronary artery disease (CAD). Thirty-three patients (18 with long COVID only; 15 with long-COVID with CAD) with a minimum of 15 hours of EECP therapy (1 hour/day) were included.

The researchers observed significant improvement in the Seattle Angina Questionnaire-7 summary score, the Duke Activity Status Index, the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Fatigue score, and the 6-minute walk test. A significant decrease was seen in the Rose Dyspnea Scale. Patients with long COVID only had a significant change from baseline for all end points. No significant difference was seen for patients with long COVID with CAD vs those without CAD.

“All patients at this point were able to successfully return back to work after undergoing treatment,” a coauthor said in a statement. “These patients also showed improvement in ‘brain fog,’ which is a common symptom of long COVID. We are excited about continuing to analyze this data and share it in the future.”

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