One treatment option for chronic stable angina is Enhanced External Counter Pulsation (EECP), a non-invasive outpatient treatment that uses pressure on the lower limbs to improve blood flow. The goal with EECP therapy is to improve circulation and make your blood flow through your heart more efficiently, and ultimately decrease the workload of your heart.
EECP treatments are typically one hour in length and given four to five days a week for seven to nine consecutive weeks, for a total of 35 treatments. No sedation is needed, as EECP is not painful. You will lie on a table and three pairs of large blood pressure cuffs will be wrapped around your calves, thighs and buttocks. Electrodes are placed on your chest to monitor vitals, and your blood pressure is monitored during the procedure. By inflating and deflating, the cuffs help to push blood back to your heart from your lower extremities, based on your heart rate. By stimulating the movement of blood, EECP promotes the creation of new blood vessels that bypass the blockage causing the angina and associated symptoms. This all helps the heart to function more efficiently, which reduces chest pain. Side effects from the treatment are typically minor, and most people tend to feel better in the last two to three weeks of treatment.
EECP may be right for you if you:
- Have Chronic Stable Angina (Long-term chest pain or pressure that comes and goes during physical activity or stress)
- Do not qualify for surgery
- Do not receive relief from your symptoms with medication
EECP has proven to be very effective. After treatment, many people have improved blood flow and reduced symptoms of angina that may last for several years. In some cases, another course of EECP therapy may be needed.
Talk to your Cardiologist to see whether you qualify for EECP therapy. At Heritage Valley Health System, EECP is offered at HVMG Heart & Vascular – Kennedy Township. For more information, please call 412.777.4386.