Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP)
Enhanced external counterpulsation is a treatment, not a diagnostic procedure. EECP, which uses pressure cuffs wrapped around the legs and ankles, is a non-surgical therapy for angina that is performed in a non-invasive cardiac lab.
EECP treatment gently compresses the blood vessels in the lower limbs to increase blood flow to the heart. The compression is timed to the heartbeat, so that an increased blood flow is delivered to the heart each time it relaxes.
Enhanced external counterpulsation is performed with the goal of encouraging small blood vessels in the heart to open. These collateral blood vessels can help to provide more blood flow to heart muscle, and help to relieve chest pain. EECP can also improve physical activity capability and may decrease the need for medications.
What to Expect During EECP
Each EECP treatment lasts about one hour, and patients receive a total of 35 treatments. The course of treatment for most patients lasts seven weeks, with one treatment daily five times a week. Occasionally, for patients who can tolerate it, treatments may be accelerated by giving two treatments per day, maximizing the rest period in between.
Who is a Candidate for EECP?
Candidates for EECP are patients who have not benefited from medication and who are not candidates for bypass surgery or stents. EECP may also be an option if you have had angioplasty or bypass surgery, but continue to suffer from chest pain.