How does EECP effect the kidneys? Will EECP improve or compromise blood flow to the kidneys? What happens to kidney function? These are important questions, as many of our patients with recurrent coronary disease also have impaired kidney function. In these patients, the X-ray dye that we use during angiography and angioplasty can sludge up in the kidneys, compromising kidney function further; full blown kidney failure can rarely occur.
In this group, we might turn to EECP as a safer means of reducing angina, but we need to be sure that EECP also won't harm the kidneys. Intuitively, one would predict that EECP would have a beneficial effect on kidney function. The American studies discussed above show that EECP increases blood flow to the heart and improves heart function. Blood flows through native arteries, vein grafts, and arterial grafts increases, and heart function, as measured by treadmill time, nuclear scanning, and angina frequency, also improves.
Chinese studies tell us that blood flow to the brain increases with EECP, leading to an improvement in brain function in certain patients. Werner and colleagues set out to study the effect EECP has on blood flow to the kidneys and how this might affect kidney function.
Using a non-invasive ultrasound technique, Werner measured blood flow to the kidneys before and during EECP in 9 healthy volunteers. Parameters of kidney function were assessed in 12 others. Their findings are summarized in the table and discussed below: