Objectives: External counterpulsation (ECP) is a non-invasive method being investigated for ischaemic stroke. We aimed to explore predictors of good functional outcome for ECP-treated ischaemic stroke patients who completed a minimum of 10 sessions. Methods: We analysed our ECP registry of ischaemic stroke patients with cerebral large artery stenosis who underwent ECP therapy at the Prince of Wales Hospital from 2004 to 2010. We included 155 patients who completed at least 10 sessions of ECP and had 3- month follow-up data as well as 52 medical controls. Functional outcomes were dichotomised into good outcome (modified Rankin Scale (mRS) 0-2) and bad outcome (mRS 3-6). We compared the differences in two groups in terms of demographics, medical history and parameters of ECP treatment. Results: At 3 months after stroke, 70.5% of patients who finished the whole course of ECP had a good outcome (only 46.5% in the unfinished group and 38.5% in the medical group). Among all 207 recruited cases, 119 (57.5%) patients had a good outcome at 3 months after stroke. Compared with the bad outcome group, patients in the good outcome group were younger and had a lower baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) and longer ECP therapy duration. Multivariate logistic regression showed that ECP duration (OR 1.032), baseline NIHSS (OR 0.734) and age (OR 0.961) were independent predictors for a favourable outcome. Conclusions: Duration of ECP therapy is first found to be an important predictor for good outcome of ECPtreated ischaemic stroke patients, in addition to the well-known prognostic factors such as age and NIHSS.
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