Enhanced External Counter-pulsation (EECP) is a non-surgical therapy for angina, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other conditions involving poor circulation.
A Natural Bypass
If you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetic neuropathy, or another circulatory disorder, you could benefit from a non-surgical therapy called EECP.
This therapy is sometimes referred to as a “natural bypass” because it enhances the body’s ability to create new pathways for blood flow around clogged arteries. EECP greatly accelerates the formation of tiny blood vessels called collaterals, helping restore healthy circulation to organs and tissues that have been deprived of blood and oxygen.
How Does EECP Work?
During an EECP treatment, you lie on a bed wearing a series of adjustable cuffs around your calves, lower thighs, and upper thighs. The cuffs are inflated in sequence, placing pressure on the legs that assists blood flow from the lower limbs to the heart. The inflation of the cuffs is timed to occur so that increased blood flow is delivered to the heart at the precise moment it is relaxing. Then, just before the heart pumps, the cuffs deflate, reducing resistance and decreasing the heart’s workload.
A treatment session lasts about one hour, during which you can read, listen to music, or relax comfortably. Most patients undergo 35 one-hour sessions, once or twice a day, over the course
EECP Relieves Angina Pain
EECP was developed at Harvard University almost 50 years ago as a therapy for angina, the squeezing chest pain that occurs when the heart is not getting enough oxygen. This most common symptom of coronary artery disease can be extremely disabling, interfering with the ability to work, exercise, or enjoy social activities.
By encouraging the formation of collaterals around blockages in the coronary arteries, EECP enhances the heart’s supply of oxygen and reduces chest pain. Several studies conducted at leading university medical centers have shown that patients who undergo a course of EECP experience significant benefits:
-They have fewer episodes of angina
-The episodes of angina are less intense
-They need less anti-angina medication
-They can walk farther without experiencing angina
-They can resume work and enjoy more social activities
Unlike drugs that are prescribed for angina, EECP is completely safe and without side effects. And unlike angioplasty and bypass surgery ¡X highly invasive surgical interventions that are used to clear or circumvent blockages in the arteries ¡X EECP can be done on an outpatient basis and requires no post-treatment recovery period. EECP’s benefits in heart disease are now so well recognized that Medicare reimburses for it.
Many patients undergo EECP after suffering a heart attack or enduring one or even several surgeries for coronary artery disease. In some cases, EECP is their only option. Yet this non-invasive therapy is so safe and effective that it should be considered as a first-line treatment for angina, not just a last resort after surgery has been ruled out.
For a growing number of patients, opting for EECP before consenting to a potentially dangerous surgical procedure is an obvious decision. In less time than it takes to recover from bypass surgery, these patients can complete a full course of EECP and begin enjoying an active, pain-free life.
What Other Conditions Benefit From EECP?
EECP isn’t just a powerful therapy for angina. Virtually any condition in which poor circulation is a contributing factor can benefit from EECP Here is just a partial list:
Congestive heart failure
Peripheral vascular disease
Research Studies & Demonstrated Results
An international study group evaluated EECP’s effectiveness for patients with chronic stable angina at seven medical centers. After treatment, 85 percent of patients experienced a significant improvement in their angina symptoms, and 83 percent showed a measurable increase in blood flow to the heart. Exercise capacity also improved significantly. American Journal of Cardiology, 2002; 89(7): 822-4.
Researchers from Harvard Medical School studied EECP’s effects on angina in diabetic patients with or without congestive heart failure. EECP was equally effective in both groups: on average, 70 percent of patients experienced a significant reduction in the severity of their angina. The number of angina episodes per week decreased by an average of 10 percent. Nitroglycerin use also declined. Abstract #689-P, 62nd Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, San Francisco, California, June 15, 2002.
German researchers studied the effects of EECP on blood flow to the eyes in elderly patients with diagnosed coronary artery disease. They measured blood flow through the ophthalmic artery, a major vessel that provides two-third’s of the retina’s blood supply. After EECP, patients experienced an average improvement of 11.4 percent in blood flow through the ophthalmic artery. Graefe’s Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology. 2001; 239(80); 599-602.
Check your local area to find a medical practitioner for EECP.