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/her calves and thighs. Cardiac monitoring wires are attached to the patient’s chest to record the heartbeat, and then the EECP pumping console rapidly inflates and deflates the leg cuffs in time with the heartbeat. Patients can listen to music, read or even 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 the 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.