What is EECP all about?
Enhanced External Counter Pulsation is a non-invasive cardiovascular treatment for patients who have heart disease (single or multi vessel blocks), congestive heart failure and/or repeat of signs and symptoms after surgical treatment and also for those prone to heart ailments due to various other factors.
Who needs EECP?
People suffering from chest pain (on exertion, at rest, continuous, occasionally) , blocks, family history, high cholesterol, abnormal and sedentary lifestyle, smokers, unhealthy diet, excessive alcohol, obesity and such hypertension, diabetes and other conditions involving poor blood circulation are ideal candidates for EECP. Recent studies have shown a drastic dip in the prevalent age group suffering from cardiac disease. From an older age group, cardiac disease is now found to hit 40-55 year olds due to their sedentary lifestyle, stress and obesity.
Also, any patient suffering from coronary artery disease is a potential candidate for EECP. In addition EECP is especially beneficial for:
• Patients who have had persistent heart disease symptoms despite having undergone angioplasty or bypass surgery.
• Patients who cannot undergo surgery due to other medical conditions like diabetics, hypertensions or renal impairment.
• Patients who just don’t want to go under the knife.
• Patients who are heavily dependent on medications or have to cut down their activities in order to avoid angina.
What is the treatment procedure of EECP?
1. Time: One hour a day for 35 sessions or 2 hours a day with a 6 hours gap as advised by cardiologist.
2: Procedure: A typical EECP session would be like this – the patient is made to lie on a padded table and three large inflatable cuffs (like the blood pressure cuff) are strapped to his/her legs. The patient’s heart is monitored via the ECG display on the machine, which in turn regulates the inflation and deflation of the cuffs. EECP gives you two benefits. One is that it pumps blood to the coronary arteries and second is that the deflating action creates a vacuum in the arteries when the heart begins to beat.
3. Prerequisites: Treatment is so simple that there are no serious prerequisites. Patients need to have finished meals 2 hours prior and wear tight elastic fitting pants during treatment.
What are the advantages of EECP?
EECP is entirely non-invasive. No medications are given specifically for the treatment but the routine medications given to strengthen the heart and for diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol reduction need to be continued. The treatment is so simple that the patient feels a drastic improvement from symptoms thereby a sense of well being and an enhanced quality of life.
What are the effects of EECP?
Heart disease does not mean just blockages. It is a condition that affects your entire vascular system, from the brain to your toes. Merely opening up one or two isolated blockages is not the way to treat the condition. EECP in fact treats the entire vascular system, naturally bypassing any blockages.
Apart from this, EECP helps in creating new blood vessels and strengthens your heart, by releasing nitric oxide which relaxes your arteries. EECP also reduces inflammation in the blood vessels which leads to heart disease. Also, EECP is known to reduce stress and depression in patients suffering from heart disease due to improvement in symptoms and ability to go through normal work without pain, discomfort or anxiety.
Is EECP safe? Are there any side effects?
EECP is has a high standard of safety. The treatment is USA FDA approved and used by doctors in India and across the world to treat extremely ill cardiac patients where no medication and no procedure could provide relief. The only side effect of EECP is an increased feeling of well being, improvement in the quality of life and reduction in cardiac medication.
Dr. GN Shirbur