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'Inflatable-pants' heart failure therapy suffers due to lack of evidence.

According to a new review on ‘Inflatable-pants' heart failure therapy lack of conclusive evidence it supports the government's opinion that too little evidence exists to support a device that uses balloon-like pants as a treatment for heart failure. //

The technique in question is called “External counterpulsation”(ECP), a noninvasive therapy to improve blood flow to the heart. This is most commonly used to relieve hard-to-treat chest pain for heart patients who are not candidates for surgery.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services declined to expand its policy on external counterpulsation to cover heart failure or other cardiac conditions.

The finding of the review is in conjunction with the government opinion, “The evidence supporting the role of ECP as an effective treatment for heart failure is lacking in both quantity and quality.

The one controlled trial of external counter pulsation for heart failure is unpublished. It showed some modest improvements in the time patients were able to exercise and some gains in patients' ranking on a scale that classifies the extent of heart failure.”

Technology Evaluation Center (TEC), which analyzes clinical and scientific evidence to evaluate whether a technology improves health outcomes conducted this systematic review. This is the first time TEC evaluated the device as therapy for heart failure, and ECP did not measure up.

"We are not sure where the Blue Cross and Blue Shield technology assessment group sets the threshold for clinical evidence of efficacy, but we feel strongly that we have met any reasonable standard," the statement of the company said.

"The theory is that it allows the heart to rest and renew itself," said Brent O'Connell, M.D., a member of the Association's Medical Advisory Panel. This panel oversaw the review.

According to noted cardiologist Frederick Masoudi, with the Denver Health Medical Cente r, “while non-invasive therapies for cardiac conditions are welcome, ECP is not widely prescribed for chest pain, and is rarer as a heart failure therapy. ECP is not used at any of the facilities where he works, and he has not seen patient demand for the therapy. ECP is typically administered outside of the hospital, often at freestanding care sites dedicated to the therapy. “

Therefore the review along with government opinion seems not to favour this particular technique.

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