ECP therapy beneficial for diabetic heart patients: Experts

New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) External Counter Pulsation — ECP — therapy is emerging as one of the most preferred treatments for diabetic patients who are prone to coronary artery diseases, health experts said here on Friday.

They said the reason ECP is being preferred over stents and bypass in small vessel diseases was that it dilates coronaries, opens dormant blood vessels and stimulates angiogenesis.

ECP therapy is a safe, non-invasive, outpatient treatment option for patients suffering from ischemic heart diseases such as angina and heart failure.

Another reason the therapy is gaining popularity is the low-risk involved in the treatment and non-surgical treatment comes at a fraction of the cost of other traditional procedures.

Clinical studies show over 75 percent of patients benefit from ECP.

“Many diabetics do not seek medical care until their affliction has progressed to small vessel disease, endothelial dysfunction and altered pain perception,” S.S. Sibia, a senior medicine expert from Ludhiana, said in a statement.

“ECP has been demonstrated to have a positive effect on endothelial function as well as in patient’s symptoms with small vessel disease.”

Sibia, director of Sibia Medical Centre, said that patients with coronary artery disease and diabetes make excellent candidates for ECP therapy as it increases the patient’s cardiac output and perfusion — process of delivering blood — to all the organs throughout the body.

The process is beneficial in diabetic patients as it is a multi-organ disease.

“Reports from ECP centres suggest that patients who have undergone ECP not only have better control of their blood glucose levels but also have had their physician lower the dosage of diabetic medication needed to maintain an optimum blood sugar level process of a body delivering blood,” he told IANS.

Analysis of data from the International EECP Patient Registry recently concluded that ECP is well tolerated and associated with improvement in angina, functional status and quality of life.

Bimal Chhajer, health and lifestyle expert at The Science And Art Of Living (SAAOL) said: “It makes sense that diabetic patients improve with ECP since many of the positive benefits associated with ECP are similar to the benefits of physical exercise.”

“Though more research is needed it is believed that symptoms of diabetic neuropathy improve in patients who undergo ECP therapy. It is not unusual to see a drop of about 20 mg/dL in blood sugar after completing one hour of ECP,” Chhajer said in a statement.


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