What is angina?
Angina is a signal from your body telling you that your heart muscle is not receiving enough oxygenated blood. The heart requires an especially enriched supply of oxygen via the incoming blood flow in the coronary arteries. When the vessels that supply the heart with oxygenated blood become narrowed, the area of the heart that is not receiving the proper blood flow responds with a very painful signal called angina pectoris. Angina may feel like chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, pain in the jaw, neck, arms, back, nausea or generalized fatigue. Each patient experiences angina differently.
What does EECP stand for?
The acronym EECP® stands for Enhanced External Counterpulsation.
What is EECP?
EECP is a non-invasive, outpatient treatment for heart disease that is used to relieve or eliminate angina. During the treatment, blood pressure cuffs are wrapped around your legs, and squeeze and release in sync with your heartbeat, promoting blood flow throughout your body and particularly to your heart. In the process, EECP develops new pathways around blocked arteries in the heart by expanding networks of tiny blood vessels (”collaterals”) that help increase and normalize blood flow to the heart muscle. For this reason, it is often called the natural bypass.
What are the advantages of EECP Therapy?
Unlike bypass surgery balloon angioplasty, and stenting procedures, EECP Therapy is non-invasive, carriers no risk , is comfortable, and administered in out sessions.
Are there any risks or side effects of EECP?
EECP is safe. Occasionally, some patient experience mild skin irritation under the areas of the blood pressure cuffs. Experience EECP therapists address this irritation by using extra padding where needed to make the patient comfortable. Some patient Experience qa bit more fatigue at the beginning of their course of treatment , but it usually subsidees after the first few session. In fact patient typically feel energized by EECP.
How long does EECP take?
The standard course of treatment is one hour per day, five days per week, for seven weeks (a total of 35 one-hour sessions). Some patients have two treatments in one day in order to complete the program more quickly. Some patients extend the program beyond 35 treatments, depending on their particular medical situation and goals.
When can I expect to start feeling better from EECP?
Most patients begin to experience beneficial results from EECP between their 15th and 25th treatments. These benefits include increased stamina, improved sleeping patterns, decreased angina, and less reliance on nitroglycerin and other medications. There is variation, certainly, and some patients start to feel better as soon as in their first week of treatment!
What happens if I miss a treatment?
You are encouraged to come for your EECP treatment every day. However, missing a day will not have a negative effect on your overall results. When you come back, you will simply pick up where you left off, and the missed treatment will be added to the end of your program until you have a total of 35 sessions. Just like exercise, the more consistent you are with your EECP schedule, the better your results will be.
What does EECP feel like?
EECP feels like a deep muscle massage to your legs. During the treatment, you do not feel anything in the chest or heart. You only feel the cuffs that are wrapped around your legs squeezing in time to your own heartbeat. Our patient have affectionately described this sensation as “gentle hugs”. Most of our patient relax, listen to music, or during their treatment. Some even sleep!
Do the benefits of EESP last
Yes, In patient followed for three to five years after treatment, the benefits of EECP, including less angina, less nitroglycerin usage, and improved blood flow patterns documented on stress tests, had lasted.
How does EECP compare to angioplasty or bypass surgery?
The five-year outcomes for EECP patients are virtually the same as for angioplasty and bypass surgery patients.
Is EECP FDA-approved? What kind of research has been done on it?
EECP was approved by the FDA in 1995 as a treatment for coronary artery disease and angina, cardiogenic shock and for use during a heart attack. In 2002, the FDA approved EECP as a treatment for congestive heart failure. It has undergone rigorous clinical trials at leading universities and EECP has been the subject of more than 100 scientific studies published in leading medical journals throughout the world.
Does insurance pay for EECP ?
Yes. EECP is covered by Medicare and paid for private insurance carriers.
I have a pacemaker is that a problem with EECP?
No. Pacemakers on coumadin are able to under go EECP treatments safely
I have congestive heart failure (CHF). Is that a problem with EECP?
No. In fact, in July 2002 the FDA approved EECP as a treatment for congestive heart failure (CHF). After completing a course of EECP treatment, patients with CHF typically have less swelling in their legs, less shortness of breath, less fatigue and often require less diuretic medication.
Is there an age limit for EECP?
No. We have successfully treated patients as young as 36 and as old as 97 without any difficulties. Many of our patients are in their 70’s and 80’s and complete the entire EECP program with excellent results.
I have already had bypass surgery / angioplasty / stents. Can I still have EECP?
Yes! Most of our patients have already had one (or more) of these procedures. They come for EECP treatment because they still have angina.
Can EECP dislodge plaque and cause a stroke or heart attack?
No. Our bodies obey the laws of physics, and one principle law is that fluid will follow the path of least resistance. Atherosclerotic plaques are calcified and hard and they create an obstruction that diverts the blood through alternate routes. During EECP®, when your blood is flowing to your heart, it will naturally bypass arteries with plaque and enter healthy, non-diseased blood vessels to go around the blockages. Going around the blockages is a longer trip, but it is a much easier one. In time, these new pathways are reinforced and become lasting routes for blood to reach your heart beyond the blockages. Every EECP patient has had multiple, serious blockages. No one has ever had a heart attack or a stroke as a result of the treatment.