Enhanced External Counter pulsation, or EECP, treatment is an FDA-approved non-invasive procedure that is supposed to improve blood circulation in the heart. Typically used in patients suffering from angina, the outpatient procedure also is seen as an alternative to bypass surgery for patients suffering from congestive heart failure or coronary artery disease.
EECP (Enhanced External Counter pulsation) is:

  • clinically proven to be as effective as bypass surgery, angioplasty, and stents

  • FDA-approved, Medicare-approved and covered by insurance

  • the only non-invasive treatment for coronary artery disease, angina, and congestive heart failure.

   
 

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It's also for those who have other health problems such as diabetes or, as in Belanger's case, another surgery and cancerPatients usually receive EECP treatment for one hour a day, five days a week for seven weeks. They lie on a padded table and are strapped with three sets of compressive cuffs around their calves and lower and upper thighs. Electronically controlled valves connected to the cuffs carry low air pressure to the arteries and veins, monitored by an electrocardiogram.

A therapy for angina called EECP may make it possible for you to take part in the activities you enjoy once again without suffering from attacks of angina. This treatment, which does not involve surgery or hospitalization, has helped many people with coronary artery disease.
This treatment is called Enhanced External Counter pulsation, and will be referred to as EECP during the presentation. EECP can eliminate or reduce angina

EECP has two potentially beneficial actions on the heart. First, the milking action of the leg cuffs increases the blood flow to the coronary arteries. (The coronary arteries, unlike other arteries in the body, receive their blood flow after each heartbeat instead of during each heartbeat. EECP, effectively, “pumps” blood into the coronary arteries.) Second, by its deflating action just as the heart begins to beat, EECP creates something like a sudden vacuum in the arteries, which reduces the work of the heart muscle in pumping blood into the arteries.
Both of these actions have long been known to reduce cardiac ischemia (the lack of oxygen to the heart muscle) in patients with coronary artery disease. Indeed, an invasive procedure that does the same thing, intra-aortic counter pulsation (IACP, in which a balloon-tipped catheter is positioned in the aorta, which then inflates and deflates in time with the heartbeat), has been in widespread use in intensive care units for decades, and its effectiveness in stabilizing extremely unstable patients is well known.

EECP now appears to be quite effective in treating chronic stable angina. A randomized trial with EECP, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiologyin 1999, showed that EECP significantly improved both the symptoms of angina (a subjective measurement) and exercise tolerance (a more objective measurement) in patients with coronary artery disease. EECP also significantly improved “quality of life” measures, as compared to placebo therapy.

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