Enhanced external counter pulsation (EECP) is an out-patient treatment for anigma and heart failure. It includes one-hour treatment, each day, five days a week, and 35 days in total. The EECP therapy helps to stimulate the openings or formation of collaterals (small branches of blood vessels) by way of creating a natural bypass around narrowed or blocked arteries.
EECP is usually administrated to patients with chronic and stable angina, those who have not received any relief from nitrate intake, and those who do not require invasive procedures such as bypass, angioplasty or stunting.
EECP therapy is well known for its benefits. Most significantly, this therapy is not invasive, requires no hospital stay, has no recovery period, and enables each patient to go about with the normal life activities.
EECP is predominately an outpatient therapy. The course of treatment begins with making the patients to lie-down on the paddled table. The patients' heart and pulse are monitored by electrocardiograph (ECG) machine. Blood pressure is also checked regularly.
A set of cuffs that can be inflated and deflated are wrapped around the patient's calves, thighs and buttocks. Importantly, the inflation and deflation are electronically synchronized with the heartbeat and blood pressure using the ECG and blood pressure monitors.
As the blood vessels are compressed by inflammation of cuffs, there will be an increase in blood flow to your heart. Cuff pressure and the heartbeat, are electronically synchronized. It is ensured that the blood may be pumped more easily from your heart.
EECP therapy helps blood vessels to open small channels that become extra branches, forming as natural bypass vessels for blood to flow to the heart muscle. This provides relief from angina symptoms.
Like any other medical therapies, EECP therapy is not without risks and reactions. A few patients may develop mild skin irritation in the areas under the treatment cuffs or experience muscle or joint discomfort. Few patients may feel tired during the course of the treatment leading to shortness of breath and exhaustion with requirement for immediate medical attention and hospitalization.
EECP therapy is considered as passive exercise and the level of fatigue following each day's treatment depends on each patient's physical exercise habits and lifestyle. So, the treatment by ECCP may not yield the same results in all patients.
A point of consensus is that, undergoing EECP therapy each day for seven weeks is vital and critical to receive the greatest benefit. EECP therapy has proved to be effective in patients who continue with a guided exercise program.