EECP/ECP (Enhanced External Counterpulsation) is a new, Medicare-approved, noninvasive, outpatient treatment for angina and coronary artery disease. When applied over a course of time, EECP/ECP reduces angina frequency, improves a person’s exercise capacity, and may even result in reduced need for medications. EECP is not a replacement for bypass surgery or angioplasty, but it is an alternative treatment for those patients who can no longer benefit from additional surgery or angioplasty, and for whom medical therapy has already been maximized.
Nearly everyone with coronary artery disease, angina, or congestive heart failure can benefit from EECP/ECP. It is particularly well-suited for people who:
- Have already had angioplasty, stents, or bypass surgery, but their heart disease symptoms have returned or persisted
- Are not candidates for surgery due to other medical conditions
- Do not want to undergo surgery
- Are diabetic
- Have small vessels (often women)
- Rely on medications or curtail their activities to avoid angina and other heart disease symptoms
FAQ about EECP
Is EECP treatment effective?
Patients who suffer from the most common heart disease, known as angina, and are in severe need of antianginal drugs that are taken for immediate relieving and alleviating symptoms, as well as for preventing attacks, can apply the EECP method for dealing with the insidious heart issue since such a medical approach can be more efficient than standard ways of fighting the angina episodes and elimination of probability of sudden death. EECP procedures can really improve your heart health, as it has been proven that the method has a positive effect on cardiovascular diseases, including patients with:
- angina pectoris;
- arterial hypertension;
- atherosclerosis of peripheral arteries.
Moreover, medical objectives that can be attained with such type of angina treatment are improvement of quality of life and restoration of normal levels of performance that can be decreased due to frequent angina episodes. Thus, due to the safety of the therapy, its prolonged effects, and the absence of serious and life-threatening side effects, the number of medical institutions using the EECP method is constantly growing.
What does EECP therapy do?
A condition, known as angina, is characterized by a sharp painful sensation in the area of the chest, and usually signals the risks of stroke and other dreadful health consequences. Such pain can radiate to other parts of the body and is triggered by a poor blood supply to the most vital organ. And even if the treatment schemes should be developed by an experienced and dependable cardiologist individually for each patient, depending on the intensity of symptoms and the frequency of attacks, as well as concomitant cardiac diseases, one of the most proven and safe procedures for dealing with a dangerous condition is EECP method. Its key treatment goals are:
- since your heart requires oxygen to stay healthy and avoid angina and other cardiac problems, EECP procedures help to repair its sufficient supply;
- the procedure can be a great remedy to alleviate unpleasant aching feelings in the chest;
- it will ensure a decrease in the number of attacks, their acuteness, and the need to take medications.
Normalization and better management of blood pressure, decreasing the need for drugs that help to control the angina signs, boosting the ability to endure physical exercises, regaining maximum work capacity to easily tolerate a workload, reduction of edema of the lower extremities are other goals that can be achieved with the EECP course.
What is external counterpulsation per treatment session?
The mission of EECP is to restore your heart health, get rid of angina symptoms, and ensure positive effects on the circulatory system. To be sure that changes are long-lasting and will benefit the patient, there should be a sufficient number of sessions applied. Usually, one procedure lasts 60 minutes. Sessions must be repeated 35 times to reach the best possible outcomes.
Thus, if you experience intense angina attacks and medications have stopped to help you in fighting the stabbing pain in the chest and getting relief, or for any reason, surgical interventions are contraindicated for you, then the method of EECP can be recommended by your cardiologist with the task to gain beneficial effects on circulation, prevent cardiac disorder, and maintain your heart healthy and ensure its proper functioning.
What are some of the side effects of EECP therapy?
Paresthesia and a feeling of tingling after the procedure, edema, leg or back pain, and bruises on the skin or mild redness and irritation in sensitive patients are the common side effects. However, the probability of serious and hazardous complications is eliminated, as the EECP is a safe treatment type that will produce successful results in most cases.
Before starting a course for heart healing, a specialist must conduct an accurate diagnosis, thorough examination, and study the patient’s anamnesis in order to detect contraindications, as for some individuals, it can be a poorly tolerated method, and for some, it may even cause some harm. Thus, people with arrhythmias, aortic insufficiency, or abnormally high blood pressure are not eligible to undergo EECP, as then, it can threaten various complications.