Dr. Joe Caceres, Buena Park Heart Center Medical Director, gives an in-depth description of EECP treatment

What is Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP)?

How it works:

The patient lies on a comfortable bed with a series of pneumatic cuffs (similar to BP cuffs) wrapped around the calves, thighs, and buttocks.

Three electrodes are placed on the chest to monitor the heartbeats.

The cuffs will inflate and deflate in time with the patient’s heartbeats.

Cuff inflation occurs after each heartbeat—during diastole—providing a squeeze to the lower extremities and pushing the blood toward the heart. This increases the blood flow to the coronary arteries that provide much-needed oxygen and nourishment to the heart muscle.

Rapid cuff deflation occurs before the next heartbeat. This creates a void in the blood vessels of the lower extremities. This decreases the effort exerted by the heart when it contracts during systole.

Blood pressure changes are monitored by a sensor placed on one of the fingers.

Vital signs are obtained before and after each treatment.

The EECP therapist remains nearby to facilitate effective therapy, and ensure patient comfort.

EECP is a well-established treatment for patients with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)—hardening of the arteries that wrap around the heart.

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EECP Treatment Protocol

The standard EECP treatment protocol consists of a one-hour session per day, five days a week, for seven consecutive weeks, for a total of 35 treatment sessions. A modified treatment protocol consists of two-hours per day, six days per week, for three weeks.

Repeat EECP may be required in about 20% of patients, particularly if they failed to complete the initial 35-hours of EECP therapy.