Study Design. Clinical trial of patients with rotational vertebrobasilar insufficiency (VBI) resulting from cervical spondylosis.
Objective. To investigate the effectiveness of enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) and traction therapy for these patients.
Summary of Background Data. EECP would reduce arterial stiffness and vascular resistance, and increase regional blood flow of vertebral arteries, thus may ameliorate symptoms in these patients.
Methods. One hundred sixty-three patients who were clinically suspected rotational VBI caused by cervical spondylosis were enrolled in this study. They were randomly allocated into 3 groups: EECP + traction, EECP, and traction group. All patients and 50 healthy volunteers received transcranial color Doppler examination of the vertebral artery and basilar artery in both a neutral cervical spine position and a rotational position.
Results. Within 3 days after treatment, 47 (84%) patients in EECP + traction group, 32 (61%) patients in EECP group, and 8 (15%) patients in traction group achieved successful outcomes, while at 3 months' follow-up, 45 (80%) patients in EECP + traction group, 34 (64%) in EECP group, and 3 (6%) in traction group achieved successful outcomes. With head rotation, the percentage of reduction of blood flow velocities of the vertebrobasilar artery (VBA) in patients was much greater than that of the healthy volunteers (P < 0.01). After treatment, rotational blood flow velocity reduction percentage of VBA in each treatment group was much lower than that of each group before treatment. EECP + traction group experienced the greatest decrease of rotational blood flow velocity reduction percentage of VBA, while EECP group experienced second greatest.
Conclusion. EECP and traction therapy can relieve the symptoms of rotational VBI, improve the rotational reduction of vertebrobasilar blood flow, and reduce the increased arterial impedance.