EECP is short for Enhanced External Counter Pulsation. It is a treatment aimed at angina, which is persistent and severe chest pain. It is a mechanical, non-invasive procedure. It is also called a Natural Bypass. The procedure helps improve blood pressure and is usually supported by cardiac rehab. It is a good alternative if you do not qualify for heart surgery.
What is Angina?
Angina is usually characterized by a serious, sharp pain in the chest. An angina episode is usually a symptom of coronary artery disease and it is caused by a lack of abundant supply of oxygenated blood to the coronary arteries. Coronary artery disease is generally caused by blocked arteries and a shortage of blood supply that translates into an equal shortage of oxygen supply.
As a result of the insufficiency of oxygen, a patient can experience what feels like a suffocation or intense squeezing in the chest. In layman’s terms, the coronary arteries are being suffocated, and it’s the pain one feels. The patient can also feel bouts of dizziness, nausea, heaviness and shortness of breath, as they are common symptoms of angina. These symptoms however can be confused with other types of chest pain issues. In order to know exactly what is wrong, it is better to see a doctor as quickly as possible if you experience symptoms like these.
EECP is used to help return as much as possible blood to the heart, and this means more oxygen supply to the body. The end of this is to reduce the frequency of angina episodes and to make them less intense if they occasionally happen.
How Does EECP Treatment Work?
Here at V-Wellness, the mechanical procedure of EECP works like this; the patient lies on a raised bed, and external inflatable cuffs are attached to the patient’s lower legs, upper legs and the buttocks. The inflation is usually computer controlled, and it is an electrocardiogram that matches the inflation and deflation rhythm to the patient’s heartbeat.
The treatment is usually done 1 hour daily, 3 to 5 times in a week. The total duration is 7-9 weeks, which comes out to about 35 hours in total for the treatment. It is an outpatient procedure, and does not involve any hospitalization.
Who Can Benefit from EECP Treatment
EECP treatment has a wide range of applications, and as such, a wide range of possible beneficiaries. Let’s take a look at them;
- Diabetic Patients
Diabetic patients can be helped a lot with this treatment, either they have cardiovascular issues or not. A study showed that the use of EECP treatment helped to reduce drastically the level of insulin resistance in the body.
It also helps to increase insulin sensitivity and improves the arterial function in the body.
- Patients with Renal Failure
Patients suffering from coronary arterial disease usually have to battle with Renal failure. This has the effect of limiting their treatment options.
However, this study has proved that patients with renal failure can look to EECP for respite, as it offers the chance to significantly reduce renal dysfunction and ensure a beginning of their return to normal life.
- Post Stroke Rehab
A key part of recovery from stroke is a consistent increase in the cerebral blood flow of the patient. And as far as EECP is concerned, this is what it was made for.
EECP is based on creating double perfusion to the cerebral blood vessels, thereby increasing cerebral blood flow. EECP also helps to reduce the shear stress in cerebral arteries, which results in repairs of the blood vessels.
Aside from these particular users, anyone who is interested in the use of EECP for overall wellness and preventative purposes is also welcome.
When is EECP Recommended?
EECP is generally recommended for people who have chronic and consistent chest pain. It is also recommended if you have not qualified for bypass surgery, stenting and other invasive procedures. You can also use EECP when all other options have been exhausted.
Are there any Side Effects?
EECP is a procedure that is mostly safe. There is no pain, and the most discomfort you will feel is a mild irritation on the areas of your body where the inflatable cuffs are placed. This can very easily be fixed by wearing a pair of rubber trousers before the procedure begins.
Also, it is not advised to use the procedure if you have had a recent cardiac catheterization, severe high blood pressure, valvular disease, an enlarged heart, pulmonary hypertension, an atrial fibrillation, etc.
Is EECP Effective?
If it is used as a relief from angina, a means of improving working capacity, and a means to drastically reduce the occurrences of angina, yes. However, it is not a true substitute for open heart bypass surgery. This is the reason why we ensure we carry out prior assessment of the severity of each patient’s disease before the procedure is done. Consultation is also done to provide a holistic approach to the procedure.
The following are the advantages of EECP are as followed;
- It is an entirely outpatient procedure, as it involves no hospitalization.
- There is no risk whatsoever of blood clotting or bleeding.
- There is no need for any anesthetic. Most patients report listening to music, reading a book, etc.
- It is a very non-invasive procedure, and as such, there is no chance of getting an infection.
- It is a very holistic heart treatment.
- There is no recuperation time needed.
- It is a very cost effective procedure, especially when compared to open heart bypass surgery.
- There is no need for any additional medicine.
- Missing a treatment doesn’t affect the effectiveness of the procedure.
A study found that angina symptoms reduced and the quality of life in coronary heart disease patients improved. Another study also determined that regardless of the BMI of the coronary heart disease of the patient, EECP was very beneficial to the reduction of angina symptoms and an overall improvement in the quality of life.
Here at V Wellness, we offer our patients the services of an in-house specialist doctor that monitors you during the treatment. The specialist doctor monitors you throughout the duration of the 35 sessions required to complete the treatment. This is done alongside the pre, mid and post clinical screenings. These screenings are done to determine the effectiveness of the treatment.
We also carry out our EECP treatment with the Vasco EECP machine that is comparable on quality to machines made by Chinese companies like Omay or PSK.