Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP)
EECP is the only FDA-approved non-invasive outpatient treatment to relieve or eliminate angina. It can create new pathways around the blocked arteries in the heart by expanding networks of tiny blood vessels that help increase blood flow to the heart muscle.
The treatment actually increases the oxygen supply of the heart, while decreasing its oxygen demand. Patients usually receive 35 treatments, divided into 60-minute treatment sessions, five days per week.
EECP treatment can lead to you being more active with fewer and less intense episodes of angina. As a result, you can return to normal, enjoyable activities, need less anti-angina medication, and avoid more invasive procedures such as bypass surgery or balloon angioplasty.
How EECP Work
A course of EECP therapy involves 35 consecutive one hour sessions. During an EECP clinic visit, a patient lies on a comfortable bed and has blood pressure-type cuffs wrapped around his or her calves and thighs. Cardiac monitoring wires are attached to the patient’s chest to record the heart beat, and then the EECP pumping console rapidly inflates and deflates the leg cuffs in time with the heart beat. Patients can listen to music, read or eben sleep during EECP therapy. The immediate result of this pumping is to dramatically improve blood flow back into the heart while simultaneously reducing the heart’s workload.
The EECP treatment gently but firmly compresses the blood vessels in the lower limbs to increase blood flow to your heart. Each wave of pressure is timed to the heartbeat by use of an ekg, so that the increased blood flow is delivered to your heart at the precise moment it is relaxing. When the heart pumps again, pressure is released instantaneously. This lowers resistance in the blood vessels in the legs so that blood may be pumped more easily from your heart.
EECP encourages blood vessels to open small channels that become extra branches. These channels or collaterals eventually become “natural bypass” vessels to provide blood flow to the heart muscle. This contributes to the relief of symptoms, improved perfusion of the heart and increased strength of the heart muscle.