Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP)
Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) is a non-invasive, outpatient treatment for chronic stable angina and anginal equivalents: chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, or fatigue.
EECP is recommended for patients who may have exhausted other treatment methods, such as bypass surgery, angioplasty, arterial stents, or antianginal medications. EECP may provide benefits long after the treatment is completed, and some patients remain symptom free for years. EECP may be repeated according to symptoms and individual insurance guidelines.
EECP uses cuff-like devices on the upper and lower legs that increase the blood flow to the heart by timed squeezing with the heart cycle and rhythm. It may help the blood flow around blocked or partially blocked arteries by promoting growth of new vessels (collaterals) and also rerouting blood through nearby branches (called collateral circulation).
Watch this video (1:18 min) to learn more about the procedure:
Patients wear special treatment pants provided by the staff. Diabetic patients are given specific instructions about their diet before and after treatment as well as their medications. All patients are contacted by staff prior to starting treatment.
Typically, physicians consider the following conditions to be eligible for EECP:
EECP is NOT recommended for patients with:
What to Expect
EECP is conducted in a series of 35 one-hour sessions. Patients may complete up to 2 hours, as tolerated, per day to accommodate patient schedules and needs. The patient lies on a special treatment bed. Three ECG electrodes are placed on the patient's chest and an oxygen sensor is placed on the patient's finger. EECP cuffs are placed around the patient's calves and thighs. The inflation and deflation (squeezing like a blood pressure cuff) occurs from calves to thigh according to the rate and rhythm of the patient's heartbeat. The inflation occurs while the heart is filling and getting ready to pump, lasting a second or less. Just before the heart pumps, all of the cuffs deflate at the same time.
POST-TREATMENT GUIDELINES AND CARE
EECP requires no recovery period. Patients may drive themselves to and from treatment. SCAT (Suffolk County Assisted Transportation) can be applied for to provide transportation for non-driving patients. Staff will assist if needed.
COMPLICATIONS FROM EECP CAN INCLUDE
"STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART"
Watch this two-part video (each 6:30 min) to hear about the experiences that real patients have had with EECP and to learn more about the procedure:
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL THE EECP UNIT AT 444-EECP(3327) or 444-8420.