ECP or “External Counter Pulsations” is a non-surgical, non-pharmaceutical, treatment for heart disease. During the treatment, blood pressure cuffs are wrapped around your legs, and squeezed and released in sync with your heartbeat, promoting blood flow throughout your body and particularly to your heart and brain.
In the process, ECP not only help opening blocked arteries but also develops new pathways around blocked arteries in the heart by expanding networks of tiny blood vessels (“collaterals”) that help increase and normalize blood flow to the heart muscles. For this reason, it is often called the NATURAL BYPASS.
ECP increases blood flow not only to heart, but other vital organs as well :
- To heart by 20-42%
- To brain by 22-26%
- To kidneys by 19%
ECP also increases heart’s output (stroke volume) by 12% by reducing after load. This improves LVEF or Ejection Fraction of the heart.
The standard course of treatment is one hour per day, five days per week, for seven weeks (a) total of 35 one-hour sessions). Some patients have two treatments in one day in order to complete the program more quickly. Some patients extend the program beyond 35 treatments, depending on their particular medical situation and goals.
Advantages of ECP
Well when it comes to treatment of heart disease, the first thing that comes to anybody’s mind is angioplasty, stenting or lastly bypass surgery.
Unlike bypass surgery, balloon angioplasty, and stenting procedures, ECP is non-invasive, carries no risk, is comfortable, and is administered in outpatient sessions. Aftermaths of ECP shows clear positive results in the Patients. Most common outcomes are:
- Patients Angiography would should lesser blockage than before treatment.
- Patient can walk more distance without chest pain
- Patient would have fewer or no angina
- Episodes of angina would be less painful
- Patient can return to work and can participate in their active life style once again
- Patient would be more energetic and confident.
Side Effects of ECP, if Any?
ECP is safe. Occasionally, some patients experience mild skin irritation under the areas of the blood pressure cuffs. Experienced ECP therapists address this irritation by using extra padding to make the patient comfortable. Some patients experience a bit more fatigue at the beginning of their course of treatment, but it usually subsides after the first few sessions. In fact, patients typically feel energized by ECP.
SUCCESS RATE OF ECP:
This treatment is famous overseas in western country and more than 90% patients receiving treatments have improved. Most feel better in 15 to 20 sessions of the treatment. ECP benefits last 3 to 7 years or more, depending up on your lifestyle. ECP is so successful, that in USA insurance reimbursement for ECP has gone up by 6% whereas that for other procedures like angioplasty, bypass surgery etc, has decreased by 5%.