External Counter Pulsation Therapy Is A Safe, Non - Invasive, Outpatient Treatment
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External Counter Pulsation Therapy (ECP) is beneficial for patients with severe angina and also not considered to be the candidates for angioplasty or bypass surgery. Some patients with congestive heart failure also witnessed good results with the treatment. ECP, a non-invasive procedure, is believed to help in stimulating the growth of new blood vessels in heart. In some cases, this therapy also improved the flow of existing blood vessel. Often, physicians consider it as the last resort when other therapies fail to treat a person. Sometimes, ECP also acts a catalyst to bypass surgery and angioplasty to enhance the benefits of these two procedures.

Preparing for External Counter Pulsation Treatment

The best part of ECP is that it doesn’t require any preparation. Mostly, the procedure is done on an outpatient basis. It is suggested that patients to wear tight-fitted clothes and elastic to prevent irritation from the cuffs and follow medication and exercise instruction as prescribed by their physician.

Who Should Not Receive External Counter Pulsation Treatment

There is multiple numbers of conditions and situations that may prevent patients from being eligible to have ECP therapy. These include a patient with:

• Deep vein thrombosis ( i.e. blood clot within a blood vessel)

• Heart valve disease

• Elevated heart rate

• High blood pressure

• An inability of the blood to coagulate (clotting)

• Pacemakers

• Phlebitis (inflammation of veins and arteries)

• Pregnancy

• Uncontrolled arrhythmia (i.e. altered heart rhythm)

The Treatment Procedure

An ECP treatment usually takes an hour or so. This daily treatment takes around five to twelve weeks to complete. Patients are placed on a table with pneumatic stockings or cuffs are fitted on the calf and lower and upper parts of thighs on each leg. Cuffs are hooked-up to a monitor which enables physicians to make adjustments to the pressure as required. The cuffs are choreographed in such fashion that they cam inflate and deflate based on the outcome of electrocardiogram (EKG) which measures heart rhythm. First, the calf cuffs inflate then the lower thigh cuffs. The process ends with inflation of upper thigh cuffs. The cuffs deflate the moment when heart starts another beat. ECP increases the pressure on the blood flowing through aorta while heart is at rest; the heart receives extra oxygen enriched with blood.

After External Counter Pulsation Treatment

After the initial treatments, patients may feel bit fatigued and tired. But that feeling is short-lived. In the coming weeks, stamina and energy also increases as the treatment progresses. Patients generally instructed to perform normal activities immediately after ECP treatment. However, it is ideal to follow physician instructions and that may include exercising, quit/not to smoking, reducing stress, losing weight and most importantly maintaining a healthful diet.

There are various side-effects of ECP treatments but they are generally mild and rarely become severe enough to discontinue treatment such as:

• Fatigue or Tiredness

• Mild Headache or dizziness

• Muscle aches or pain

• Skin irritation or especially chafing around the cuffs

• Sores on the leg where pressure has been applied

At the end, it is easily understandable that ECP is a safe, non-invasive, outpatient treatment to treat heart related diseases without a surgery or angioplasty.

Author’s Bio:

Nicholas Hedge is associated with cardiology treatments for years now. In this article, he has discussed about “External Counter Pulsation Therapy Is a Safe, Non-Invasive, Outpatient Treatment”, after reading some articles written by experienced ECP Therapist in Orange County.


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