What is EECP (Enhanced External Counterpulsation)?

What is EECP therapy?
Written by: Flow Therapy

Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP) is a non-invasive, FDA-approved outpatient therapy to reduce the intensity and frequency of angina-related chest pain.

EECP treatment is administered through three sets of cuffs that are applied around the calves, thighs, and buttocks. The cuffs inflate and deflate synchronized with the heartbeat using an electrocardiograph (ECG). EECP increases blood flow to the heart while stimulating the formation of new collaterals pathways (small branches of blood vessels around the heart) to allow a natural bypass around narrowed or blocked arteries. EECP treatments are administered daily for one hour (Monday through Friday) for 7 continuous weeks resulting in years of benefit.

How does EECP work? 

STEP 1
When your heart is relaxed (diastole phase), the cuffs inflate sequentially to increase oxygenated blood supply to the heart muscle.

EECP Cuffs Inflate

STEP 2
When your heart beats (systole phase), the cuffs deflate, facilitating cardiac unloading.

EECP Cuffs Deflate

EECP increases blood flow to the heart, while simultaneously stimulating the opening and formation of collaterals (small branches of blood vessels around the heart) to create a natural bypass around narrowed or blocked arteries. EECP treatments are administered as daily visits for one hour (Monday through Friday) for 7 continuous weeks.

How does EECP support the formation of collateral vessels?

More Oxygen Intake
Your heart needs oxygen to function properly, and when issues such as blocked arteries limit the flow of oxygenated blood back to the heart, it can lead to symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fatigue. Notice the darkened areas in the following graphic? Those indicate blocked arteries.

Forming Collateral Vessels 1

New Vessel Formations
One of Flow Therapy’s main results is called collateral recruitment, which means the widening and creation of small blood vessels in the heart muscle. These new vessels improve the flow of healthy, oxygenated blood to all areas of the heart. See the squiggly lines forming? That’s indicative of new collateral vessels forming.

Collateral Vessel Forming 2

New Natural Bypasses Form
These small collateral blood vessels create “natural bypasses” around narrowed or blocked arteries to restore blood flow, relieve symptoms associated with heart disease, and return more oxygenated blood to the heart.

Collateral Vessel Forming 3

Who is eligible for EECP treatment?

You are eligible for EECP treatment if you:

  • Have chronic stable angina
  • Are not receiving adequate relief from angina from your current medications
  • Do not qualify or prefer not to undergo invasive procedures (bypass surgery, angioplasty, or stenting) 

What are the benefits of EECP treatment?

  • Reduce or Eliminate Angina
  • Increase Energy and Stamina
  • Improve Circulation
  • Improve Rest and Sleep
  • Return to Healthy Daily Activities
  • Reduce or Eliminate Medications

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More EECP Resources

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Immediate & Long-term EECP Outcomes on Chronic Stable Refractory Angina

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