How Does EECP Therapy Reverse Cardiovascular Disease?

Cardiovascular disease is the foremost cause of fatality in the United States for both men and women. Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) has been demonstrated, in more than 100 studies, to effectively and safely improve blood flow in individuals with heart disease. Many experts would like to see the EECP procedure performed routinely for initial therapy of heart disease, rather than the more common surgery or invasive procedures such as angioplasty or coronary stints. EECP therapy has been FDA approved for congestive heart failure, cardiogenic shock, and chronic stable angina. Medicare will also pay for EECP therapy. Read more to discover how EECP therapy reverses cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular Disease

Congestive heart failure is a health disorder where the heart’s job as a pump is not sufficient enough to meet the body’s needs. Angina is the most common symptom of coronary artery disease and involves chest discomfort or pain when the heart muscle is not getting enough oxygen-rich blood. Pain may also be experienced in the arms, shoulders, back, neck, or jaw. Other symptoms of coronary artery disease include:

• Heart palpitations
• Rapid heartbeat
• Dizziness
• Sweating
• Nausea
• Shortness of breathe
• Fatigue
• Edema

Historically, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease and angina, were treated utilizing surgical procedures including coronary artery bypass grafting and angioplasty. Blood flow was restored to the heart with these treatments, but often the arteries would eventually reclose.

EECP Procedure

Patients with heart disease will find EECP therapy to be less costly, lower risk, non-invasive, and high-tech. During the session, blood is pumped from the legs up to the heart while the heart is at rest. The procedure is performed on an out-patient basis, at which time, the patient will:

1. Lay down on a EECP bed
2. Be attached to a heart monitor
3. Have three cuffs, similar to blood pressure cuffs, wrapped around calves, thighs, and buttocks

The cuffs rapidly deflate when the heart pumps, and when the heart is resting, the cuffs briskly compress the calves, thighs, and buttocks. The squeezing does not interfere with normal bodily functions, improves body circulation, promotes the forming of new blood vessels, and has been found to have positive long-term effects.

Patients typically take part in a series of hourly sessions, for approximately seven weeks, with a total of 35 sessions. Recipients generally report that the EECP sessions are relaxing and remind them of deep-tissue massage. Most listen to music, read, or take a nap during the session. After a few days, or weeks, individuals describe themselves as having more energy, less pain, and able to tolerate exercise.

Why it Works

EECP increases the healthy flow of oxygenated blood to the heart. EECP imitates the cardiovascular benefits of exercise and the compressions help to open small blood vessels, producing bypasses around arteries that are blocked or constricted. The procedure overcomes heart disease by strengthening the vascular system through passive exercising, and by eradicating inflammation that may be obstructing the blood flow. Symptoms are often eliminated and patients are able to recommence an active, healthy lifestyle. EECP results include:

• Elimination or a significant reduction of angina symptoms
• Greater energy, stamina, and exercise capabilities
• Elimination or a significate reduction is the use of medications, including nitroglycerin
• Long-term health benefits of improved blood flow lasting three to five years and longer
• Research indicates that EECP recipients are less likely to go to emergency rooms, need hospital stays, or require further surgical procedures angioplasty and bypass patients

Patients are generally able to take part in activities that they had been forced to give up because of their heart problems.

EECP Commendations

1. Clinically proven to be as successful as angioplasty, stents, and bypass surgery
2. FDA and Medicare approved
3. Covered by insurance
4. Accessible at leading medical centers including the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and the Cardio Care centers in Los Angeles and Inglewood, CA

EECP therapy has given many individuals with heart disease a new lease on life. It is described as leisurely as taking a sixty minute nap. And the best news – EECP therapy has none of the risks or recovery time involved with surgery.