EECP Therapy in the News – Montreal Researchers Trial of Non-Invasive Treatment

Earlier this week, a news channel in Canada – CTV Montreal News – reported that a group of cardiovascular researchers at Hospital Pierre Boucher, in Longueuil, Quebec, are working with the Montreal Heart Institute to test Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP) treatment on patients with stable and unstable angina.

In response to a recommendation made four years ago in an evaluation of EECP Therapy by the Ministry of Health in Quebec for additional clinical information, a private foundation provided a grant to cover the costs of the research project. For the past three years clinical investigators, including Dr. Marc Jolicouer from the Montreal Heart Institute, have been treating patients at no charge to the patients in an open clinical trial designed to show the safety, efficacy and potential economic benefit with the goal of making EECP Therapy available to more patients in Canada.

Additionally, this study was also encouraged by the IIa Level of Recommendation by the European Society of Cardiology in its 2013 Guidelines for the Management of Stable Coronary Artery Disease, which stated that EECP Therapy should be considered to help relieve symptoms for patients with angina. As a result, Dr. Jolicouer and his fellow investigators believe that EECP is an important option in addressing the need for new angina treatments in Canada.

The aired segment, which also includes a video statement in support of EECP Therapy by Dr. Gregory Barsness, a published cardiology researcher and interventional cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota as well as an interview with a patient who has benefited from receiving EECP Therapy, can be viewed on the CTV website.

Per the segment, Dr. Jolicouer maintains that it is not unusual for patients to see positive results from EECP Therapy and believes that EECP should be made available to a wider population of patients in Canada. The researchers plan on presenting their findings at a major cardiology conference this coming fall. We agree with Dr. Jolicouer and look forward to seeing the results from their trial!

Local Patient Spotlight: “EECP Therapy is Marvelous”

As you know, we at Vasomedical love hearing success stories from patients. This week, we spoke to one Manhattan-based patient, a 74 year old man who asked to remain anonymous on the blog. He took a few minutes out of his day to tell us his story.

Before his treatment, the patient said that he was bent over and was only able to walk two to three blocks before getting tired. He is diabetic and had unfortunately lost all feeling in one of his feet in addition to having two herniated discs in his back.

Upon hearing about EECP Therapy from a friend, he went to check it out. “At that point, I figured I had nothing to lose,” he told us.

“Now I can walk for miles and I’m standing up straight; last weekend I walked five miles with no trouble at all. I’d also say I’ve gotten about 75 percent of the feeling back in my one foot. It has been night and day – EECP Therapy is a marvelous thing, it changed my life.”

The patient says he now recommends EECP Therapy to anyone who asks and notes that he can do things that he couldn’t do before.

This story is not uncommon and we love to hear success stories. If you have a story to tell, please email us at vaso@kcsa.com.

 

When Doctors Speak Out…It’s Time to Listen

In a letter that appeared in the June 2014 British Journal of Cardiology, Robin Roberts, a cardiologist in Wimbledon, England speaks out and calls for a re-assessment of Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP®) Therapy in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Roberts points out that the 2013 European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Guidelines on the Management of Stable Coronary Artery Disease gave EECP a 2a level of recommendation, meaning that EECP treatment “should be” considered for patients with refractory angina, which supports the position that the published clinical studies have provided adequate evidence to support the safety and  effectiveness of EECP.

In 2009, EECP was subjected to a review and economic analysis in the U.K. During this examination, the results indicated that there wasn’t enough firm evidence to recommend its use in standard clinical practices. However that was more than five years ago. Since then, a number of National Health Service (NHS) hospitals and private hospitals and clinics continued to provide EECP Therapy. Coverage was provided for the treatment by both the NHS and private insurance companies on a “named patient” or case-by-case basis.

Citing the significant amount of clinical knowledge about the mechanisms of action and more recent clinical results that have been published in peer reviewed medical journals about EECP during the past five years, Dr. Roberts puts forth the argument that it is time for a reassessment of EECP in the U.K.

At Vasomedical, we support Dr. Roberts, a long time provider of EECP Therapy and one of its strongest advocates in Europe. We believe that the scales of evidence for the acceptance of EECP have begun to tip in favor of this treatment, an often overlooked, but extremely effective therapy.

Heart Health in the News: “Women with Diabetes Face Greater Heart Risks than Men”

It has been reported that Type 2 diabetes – the most common form of the disease – substantially increases one’s risk for heart disease. Interestingly, a recent wellness blog on The New York Times web site reported that a meta-analysis review of more than 64 published studies covering more than 850,000 patients, has found that this risk is much higher for women than men.

What is Type 2 diabetes?

According to the American Diabetes Association, with Type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin, which is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy.

When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause two problems: (1) it may starve cells for energy and (2) over time can result in negative consequences for one’s eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart. Studies show that Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population.

Why is there a greater risk for women than men?

The lead researcher on the review project, Sanne A. E. Peters, an epidemiologist at University Medical Center Utrecht, states that the reasons are largely unclear. However, Peters suggests that women may be taking worse care of themselves – i.e., gaining more weight and raising the risk of coronary disease – than men prior to the onset of diabetes.  The researcher mentions that while there is no proof of this, she suspects it may be true.

According to a Time.com blog on this study:

“Even after accounting for the fact that women tend to develop heart disease at different rates than men, the researchers report in Diabetologia that women with diabetes were 44% more likely to develop heart problems than men with the disease. Historically, women aren’t treated for heart risk factors as well as men, partly because their symptoms are different – many women don’t experience the chest pains and shortness of breath that are a hallmark of a heart attack among men, for example. So women may actually have more advanced, untreated heart disease when they are diagnosed with diabetes than men when they are diagnosed.”

At Vasomedical we believe in taking care of your heart in a variety of ways – from regular exercise to watching your diet and beyond. Diabetes is a serious issue with consequences that can impact your heart health. For more information about diabetes, visit: the American Diabetes Association’s website at: http://www.diabetes.org/.

Exercise and heart health– Can there be too much of a good thing?

We’ve all heard that exercising keeps the heart healthy – whether it’s a run, yoga class or cycling. But how much exercise is healthy and can too much be harmful?

According to a recent piece by MedPage Today, “too much of a good thing” can become a reality, and one must be tuned in to his or her limits.  It looks like moderate exercise may be the way to go, even for healthy patients.

The article states:

“Research involving stable chronic heart disease (CHD) patients found daily strenuous exercise to be associated with a more than twofold increased risk for cardiovascular mortality compared with moderate (two- to four-times a week) exercise (2.36, 95% CI 1.05-5.34).”

This is not an excuse to skip your exercise though! Researchers found that moderate, regular exercise is important for maintaining a healthy heart. Widely accepted guidelines recommend 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity five to seven days per week.

You can read the full piece here: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Cardiology/Prevention/45785

Tell us – how much exercise do you get each week? What’s your favorite form of cardio?  Email us with your heart-healthy exercises at vaso@kcsa.com.

Heart Health in the News – Nano Pacemaker Implanted Sans Surgery

There is some recent heart health news right in Vasomedical’s back yard on Long Island: this month, doctors implanted a nano pacemaker into a local patient’s heart, the device was so small (about the size of a quarter) that it did not require surgery.

According to the Newsday report, the nano is a miniature self-contained device that has no wires and it only requires a minimally invasive procedure to insert. The device is routed into the right ventricle, a chamber in the heart, using a catheter inserted in the femoral vein of the leg by a specialist in electrophysiology. Over time, scar tissue grows over the implant and secures it in place. The device is a product of St. Jude Medical, a Minnesota-based medical device maker, and it is called Nanostim. It is currently being tested for safety and efficacy in a national multicenter clinical trial.

One of the most impressive things about this procedure: the patient was in and out of the hospital in less than 24 hours.

According to the piece, “more than 4 million patients globally have pacemakers, and 700,000 new patients receive one annually.” If approved, this device could potentially revolutionize the current pacemaker insertion procedures that are used frequently to treat patients who suffer from arrhythmias, when the heart beats too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm.

At Vasomedical, we look forward to seeing how other non-invasive procedures can transform heart heath treatments and we always like to be aware of the latest industry happenings.

Tell us, what do you think of this new pacemaker?