Enhanced External Counterpulsation

Modern Heart and Vascular Institute

Cardiovascular Specialist & Board Certified Cardiologist located in Humble, TX, Katy, TX & Cleveland, TX

Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) is a noninvasive treatment for angina (chest pain). This therapy can help reduce symptoms of persistent stable angina and increase blood flow to the heart in patients who have exhausted other options. At Modern Heart and Vascular, we offer EECP therapy with cutting-edge technology to help our patients improve their heart health and overall well-being.

What Is Enhanced External Counterpulsation?

Angina is a common symptom of many cardiovascular conditions. In some cases, chest pain occurs when coronary artery disease (CAD) or another illness allows plaque to build up and narrow your blood vessels. Narrow arteries and blockages reduce blood flow to and from the heart, creating complications that affect the rest of your body. A lack of sufficient oxygen-rich blood results in chest pain or discomfort and other symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue or dizziness.

Enhanced external counterpulsation is a procedure that seeks to lessen angina symptoms associated with CAD and other conditions. By using leg cuffs to move blood upward to the heart, EECP increases blood flow and lowers resistance to make your heart pump more efficiently. It might also encourage the development of collateral arteries to bypass existing blockages or narrow blood vessels.

How Enhanced External Counterpulsation Works

EECP is a noninvasive outpatient therapy — not a surgery. The process typically consists of hour-long sessions five times a week for seven weeks.

During an EECP therapy session, a technician will wrap long, inflatable cuffs around both of your legs, covering your buttocks, thighs and calves. An enhanced external counterpulsation machine monitors your heartbeat and continuously inflates and deflates the cuffs along with your heartbeat. This firm movement compresses the blood vessels and pushes blood toward the heart.

With increased blood flow and support from the EECP machine, the heart faces less resistance and can pump blood more efficiently. Improved circulation of oxygen-rich blood benefits your entire body and can reduce angina and related symptoms. The enhanced external counterpulsation procedure might also enable the opening of collateral arteries, further improving blood flow to the heart.

Common Uses of EECP

Doctors and patients use enhanced external counterpulsation to reduce chronic stable angina and other serious, persistent chest pain symptoms. EECP can lower the intensity and frequency of angina episodes, improving the quality of life for qualified patients.

People who should consider EECP include patients who do not qualify for surgery and have exhausted all other options. As a noninvasive alternative to surgery, EECP can lessen painful symptoms and help you manage stable angina.

However, some people should not use EECP to treat their angina symptoms, including those with atrial fibrillation, congenital heart defects, hypertension or other conditions. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits to determine if enhanced external counterpulsation is the right choice for you.

Consult With a Cardiologist Today

If you suffer from chronic stable angina, EECP might be an option to reduce your pain and improve your heart health. Modern Heart and Vascular cardiologists can discuss your condition and possible treatments, including enhanced external counterpulsation. Contact us to learn more and schedule a consultation today. 

This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.