Frequently Asked Questions

Find Answers to your EECP® Flow Therapy & Heart Questions.


EECP stands for Enhanced External Counter Pulsation. It is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment intended to pump more oxygenated blood to the heart, and reduce the symptoms of heart disease such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue.

You might hear us use one term or the other, but in a nutshell, EECP and Flow Therapy are the same. While many clinical locations offer EECP as a secondary treatment for chronic heart conditions, we make it our primary focus. We created Flow Therapy locations to provide a more comfortable, friendly, and elevated place to experience and administer EECP treatments.

Documented research has shown benefits lasting three to five years after EECP Flow Therapy treatment. These benefits include less anginal episodes, decreased nitroglycerin usage, increased blood flow on stress tests, and increased exercise tolerance.

No. Our bodies follow the laws of physics, and one principle law is that fluid will travel in the path of least resistance. Atherosclerotic plaques are calcified and hard, and they create an obstruction that detours the blood through alternate routes. During Flow Therapy, when your blood is flowing to the heart, it will naturally bypass arteries with plaque and enter healthy, non-diseased blood vessels to go around blockages. Throughout the Flow Therapy cycle, these new pathways are reinforced and become lasting routes for blood to reach your heart muscle beyond blockages. Almost every Flow Therapy patient has multiple blockages; no one has ever had a heart attack or a stroke as a result of the treatment.

Yes and yes! EECP was FDA approved in 1995 for the treatment of coronary artery disease and angina, cardiogenic shock, and for use during a heart attack. In 2002, the FDA approved EECP as a treatment for congestive heart failure. EECP has undergone clinical trials at leading universities around the nation and been subject to over a hundred scientific studies published in the most prestigious medical journals throughout the world.

EECP Flow Therapy is administered on a standard regimen of one hour a day, five days per week for seven weeks. This totals thirty-five one-hour treatments to complete a full course of Flow Therapy.

You are encouraged to make every scheduled treatment, but if you miss a day it will not have a negative outcome to your overall treatment. We’ll simply add another treatment onto the end until you reach the thirty-five completed sessions.

Yes. Medicare, Medicaid and all private carriers support the use of EECP Flow Therapy.

No. Patients as young as 30 and as old as 95 have successfully completed EECP Flow Therapy without any complications. Many of our patients are in their 80s and older, and have excellent results.

No. Pacemakers and defibrillators do not interfere in any way with EECP Flow Therapy treatments.

Yes. Most of our patients have had at least one of these procedures. They come for Flow Therapy because they still experience cardiovascular symptoms.

There are very few patients who cannot have EECP Flow Therapy. Individuals who should not be treated include pregnant women, those with a severe aneurysm (thinned and bulging vessel walls) in their aorta requiring surgical repair, and patients with active blood clots in their legs.

As a muscular organ, the heart has two pumps that are divided into an upper chamber (atrium) and lower chamber (ventricle). These chambers are linked by passageways with valves to ensure blood flow in one direction. The lower left ventricle works the hardest, pumping blood into the body through the aorta, the largest artery in the body. In turn, this chamber of the heart has the greatest need for oxygenated blood.

The blood’s cycle through the body begins when oxygen-depleted blood returns to the heart, entering the upper right atrium via the largest veins (venae cavea). Blood passes through a valve from the right atrium to the lower right ventricle. The blood is then pumped through the pulmonary artery into the lungs where it receives oxygen.

Freshly oxygenated blood then flows from the lungs through the pulmonary veins into the left atrium and then into the left ventricle. From the left ventricle, blood is pumped through the aorta to supply the body.

 

Angina occurs when the heart needs more oxygen from the blood. Physical activity often triggers angina. Other triggers include emotional stress, extreme cold or heat, heavy meals, alcohol, and cigarette smoking.

EECP Flow Therapy treatments may be used to treat any patient with chronic unstable angina, but it is usually reserved for patients taking medication that is losing its effectiveness.

Angina restricts the activities of many patients. They are able to walk, but not uphill, and not carrying packages. For some patients, angina is disabling, interfering with their ability to work or engage in various activities.

Doctors recommend controlling the risk factors that contribute to underlying coronary artery disease. These risk factors include high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, high blood cholesterol levels, and obesity.

Angina is usually controlled by medication. This medication helps increase the supply of oxygen to the oxygen-deprived heart muscle by dilating coronary vessels or decreasing the demand for oxygen. Unfortunately, in most patients, medication becomes less effective over time.