Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) therapy is a procedure that uses blood pressure cuffs on your legs to treat one type of angina (chest pain). The cuffs push more blood into the blood vessels going to your heart. The cuffs put pressure on the blood vessels in time with your heartbeat. Over time, this may help small blood vessels to open or new ones to grow. These blood vessels help your heart muscle get more blood. This may help you have less chest pain for many months or several years after EECP therapy.
When is it used?
EECP therapy may be used if you still have chest pain after treatment with medicine, bypass surgery, or angioplasty.
How do I prepare for this procedure?
You may be more comfortable if you wear athletic tights or bicycle pants that don’t have seams and donâ€™t bunch up under the blood pressure cuffs.
Itâ€™s a good idea to urinate before the procedure.
If you take diuretics, you might want to wait to take them until after the procedure.
Follow any other instructions your healthcare provider gives you.
Ask any questions you have before the procedure. You should understand what your healthcare provider is going to do. You have the right to make decisions about your healthcare and to give permission for any tests or procedures.
What happens during the procedure?
You lie on a table and blood pressure cuffs are put on your calves and thighs. With each heartbeat, a device inflates and deflates the cuffs, starting with your calf and moving up to your thigh. The procedure should not be painful.
Most people are treated for 1 hour a day, 5 days a week, for 7 weeks. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.
What are the risks of this procedure?
Every procedure or treatment has risks. For example, you might have some irritation or bruising of the skin. Ask your healthcare provider how these risks apply to you. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.
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Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth. Last modified: 2014-10-23 Last reviewed: 2014-10-13
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
EECP Therapy: References
Lawson, WE, Hui, JC, Lang, G. Treatment benefit in the enhanced external counterpulsation consortium. Cardiology 2000; 94:31.
Soran, O, Kennard, ED, Kfoury, AG, Kelsey, SF. Two-Year Clinical Outcomes After Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP) Therapy in Patients With Refractory Angina Pectoris and Left Ventricular Dysfunction (Report from the International EECP Patient Registry). Am J Cardiol 2006; 97:17.
Stys, TP, Lawson, WE, Hui, JC, et al. Effects of enhanced external counterpulsation on stress radionuclide coronary perfusion and exercise capacity in chronic stable angina pectoris. Am J Cardiol 2002; 89:822.
Urano, H, Ikeda, H, Ueno, T, et al. Enhanced external counterpulsation improves exercise tolerance, reduces exercise-induced myocardial ischemia and improves left ventricular diastolic filling in patients with coronary artery disease. J Am Coll Cardiol 2001; 37:93.