Font Size: Increase | Decrease

Enhanced External Counterpulsation Eases Vascular Problems

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a non-invasive form of cardiovascular therapy called Enhanced External Counterpulsation or EECP. The medical procedure treats patients with poor arterial blood flow to the heart caused by narrow arteries. The lack of oxygenated blood causes a condition called microvascular angina or MVA. People who have this kind of condition do not have many choices in terms of treatment because few medications have been known to give MVA patients relief.

One cardiologist, Dr. Ken Kronhaus, has been treating his patients with the non-invasive Enhanced External Counterpulsation method. EECP does not include needles, surgery or additional medications, according to Dr. Kronhaus. The EECP treatment lasts seven weeks and requires patients to lie down for 35 one-hour sessions while wearing cuffs that enfold the calves, buttocks and thighs. The cuffs have computerized sensors on them that monitor cardiovascular activity; they expand and contract, artificially pumping blood through the cardiac blood vessels between every natural heartbeat, so that the heart doesn’t have to work as hard. Overall the motion improves blood circulation.

Enhanced External Counterpulsation is now used on patients with vascular problems at leading medical facilities like the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, the Mayo Clinic, the University of California at San Diego, the Cleveland Clinic, and the Duke University Medical Center. It is the opinion of heart experts that this non-invasive treatment can replace cardiovascular medication and surgery in the near future. The therapy has already been proven to remedy 70 to 80 percent of patients with angina problems, as reported by the Mayo Clinic.

Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the Cardiovascular Institute of the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Ozlem Soran, said that Enhanced External Counterpulsation has been successfully performed on thousands of patients. Soran expressed confidence that with FDA backing EECP will be used to treat conditions such as acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), congestive heart failure, cardiogenic shock and stable and unstable angina.

The Enhanced External Counterpulsation therapy relieves pain and restores cardiovascular movement to those who those patients who cannot have any more risky, invasive procedures due to age or other complications. According to Dr. Soran, EECP can be a primary option for thousands, tried first before any further procedure. Currently, the cost for EECP is approximately $6,000 but is usually covered by medical insurance. For more information about treating blood vessels that cause cardiovascular problems, please ask a doctor a medical question and schedule an appointment. You need personalized advice to address any specific medical concerns.

close this window (x)