Enhanced External Counterpulsation for Management of Postacute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 Associated Microvascular Angina and Fatigue: An Interventional Pilot Study.

Wu E, Mahdi A, Nickander J, Bruchfeld J, Mellbin L, Haugaa K, Ståhlberg M, Desta L

Cardiol Res Pract 2023 (-) 6687803 [2023-12-27; online 2023-12-27]

Postacute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) are a novel clinical syndrome characterized in part by endothelial dysfunction. Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) produces pulsatile shear stress, which has been associated with improvements in systemic endothelial function. To explore the effects of EECP on symptom burden, physical capacity, mental health, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients with PASC-associated angina and microvascular dysfunction (MVD). An interventional pilot study was performed, including 10 patients (male = 5, mean age 50.3 years) recruited from a tertiary specialized PASC clinic. Patients with angina and MVD, defined as index of microcirculatory resistance (IMR) ≥25 and/or diagnosed through stress perfusion cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, were included. Patients underwent one modified EECP course (15 one-hour sessions over five weeks). Symptom burden, six-minute walk test, and validated generic self-reported instruments for measuring psychological distress and HRQoL were assessed before and one month after treatment. At baseline, most commonly reported PASC symptoms were angina (100%), fatigue (80%), and dyspnea (80%). Other symptoms included palpitations (50%), concentration impairment (50%), muscle pain (30%), and brain fog (30%). Mean IMR was 63.6. After EECP, 6MWD increased (mean 29.5 m, median 21 m) and angina and fatigue improved. Mean depression scores showed reduced symptoms (-0.8). Mean HRQoL scores improved in seven out of eight subscales (+0.2 to 10.5). Patients with PASC-associated angina and evidence of MVD experienced subjective and objective benefits from EECP. The treatment was well-tolerated. These findings warrant controlled studies in a larger cohort.

Category: Post-COVID

Type: Journal article

PubMed 38179014

DOI 10.1155/2023/6687803

Crossref 10.1155/2023/6687803

pmc: PMC10764650

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