Nearly 8 million people in the United States suffer from symptoms of coronary artery disease (CAD). Unfortunately, the population of patients with ischemic coronary disease that is not readily amenable to surgical or percutaneous revascularization continues to grow. For patients who are not candidates for standard revascularization procedures and in whom aggressive medical therapy fails to control symptoms, enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) is a new, noninvasive outpatient method to improve quality of life by decreasing ischemic symptoms and permit increased activity. We report the case of a 56-year-old woman with severe, symptomatic CAD receiving maximal medical therapy who underwent a course of EECP therapy because she was not a good candidate for other forms of revascularization. She demonstrated dramatic improvement in her anginal symptoms and complete resolution of myocardial ischemia on repeat nuclear stress imaging. This case suggests that EECP is a safe and effective method for reducing symptoms of myocardial ischemia in patients for whom standard percutaneous or surgical revascularization is not suitable treatment.
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