Enhanced External Counter Pulsation, or EECP therapyis a safe, non-invasive, out patient treatment option for individuals suffering from ischemic heart diseases such as angina/ coronary artery disease and heart failure. This therapeutic medical device returns blood back to the heart during the relaxation phase of the heartbeat, giving patients all the benefits of having a second heart pumping. EECP increases the blood flow to the heart blood vessels and throughout the body’s organs resulting in numerous health benefits for the entire body.
EECP was first developed as ECP (External Counter Pulsation) at Harvard University in the 1950s but was overshadowed by the development of coronary bypass surgery, coronary angioplasty and stenting. It was used to treat heart attacks, heart failure and angina. ECP went on to be further refined in China and became EECP with the addition of sequential inflation of the cuffs from the calf to the buttocks rather than all at once.
Clinical trials over the last twenty years lead to the approval by the FDA as well as Medicare coverage for patients who meet criteria for treatment.
EECP was initially developed to treat patients that suffered from blockages due to heart disease. What’s important to understand is that heart disease is not just about blockages. Heart disease is a systematic condition that affects the entire vascular system- 60,000 miles of blood vessels. Thus we need to address the entire system, not simply open up one or two vessels. EECP treats the entire vascular system as it bypasses blockages.
Around 70-75% of patients treated for angina and heart failure notice an improvement in their symptoms with less chest pain, improved wellbeing, and exercise tolerance.
During each treatment the patient is laid on a comfortable bed and series of large inflation cuffs are wrapped around the calves, thighs, hips, and buttocks. The patient is then monitored by a computerized EKG, which triggers the cuffs to inflate and deflate in sync with the heartbeat. During the resting phase of the heart, the cuffs inflate to pump oxygen rich blood to the heart and the rest of the body. When the heart beats, the cuffs rapidly deflate. Then the blood vessels expand and blood gets ejected from the heart with less effort for the heart muscle.
Each EECP treatment lasts one hour and patients usually listen to music, read, relax, or even fall asleep during treatment. Most patients benefit from 35 treatments over a course of seven weeks.
Yes. Medical coverage is available through most insurance providers for patients with heart issues who meet the criteria for treatment. Criteria for some insurance companies may consist of whether the patient has recurrent chest pain after bypass surgery/ angioplasty/ stenting or the patient is not a candidate for those procedures. This treatment has also been approved for heart failure, particularly related to poor heart circulation. For more information, reserve your complimentary consultation today.