Preliminary findings of external counterpulsation for ischemic stroke patient with large artery occlusive disease

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Background and Purpose: We aimed to investigate the feasibility and therapeutic effect of external counterpulsation (ECP) in ischemic stroke. Methods: The trial was a randomized, crossover, assessment-blinded, proof-of-concept trial. ECP treatment consisted of 35 daily 1-hour sessions. Patients were randomized to either early (ECP weeks 1 to 7 and no ECP weeks 8 to 14) or late group (no ECP weeks 1 to 7 and ECP weeks 8 to 14). Primary outcomes were an overall change in National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) and cerebral blood flow estimated by color velocity imaging quantification. Secondary outcomes were change in NIHSS, color velocity imaging quantification, favorable functional outcome (modified Rankin scale, 0 to 2), and stroke recurrence at weeks 7 and 14, respectively. Results: Fifty patients were recruited. At week 7, there was a significant change in NIHSS (early 3.5 vs late 1.9; P=0.042). After adjusting for treatment sequence, ECP was associated with a favorable trend of change in NIHSS of 2.1 vs 1.3 for non-ECP (P=0.061). Changes of color velocity imaging quantification were not significant but tended to increase with ECP. At week 14, a favorable functional outcome was found in 100% of early group patients compared to 76% in the late group (P=0.022). Conclusion: ECP is feasible for ischemic stroke patients with larger artery disease.

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Journal Article

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