EECP (Enhanced External Counterpulsation), a noninvasive procedure to help patients with chest pains secondary to coronary heart disease (angina pectoris), is now available at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. EECP has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of angina pectoris.
The treatment consists of 35 one-hour treatments over the course of seven weeks with the patient on a Monday through Friday regimen. During EECP therapy, the patient lies on a bed and pressure cuffs are attached to the calves, lower thighs and upper thighs. The patient's heart rate and rhythm are constantly measured during the process. The cuffs inflate and deflate, gradually building to full pressure while the machine works with the heart's rhythms.
The mechanism of benefit is unclear. Evidence to date indicates that EECP treatment may promote the growth of new blood vessels in the heart and improve blood flow to areas that are not getting enough blood and oxygen. This improved blood flow decreases chest pain symptoms.