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Enhanced External Counter Pulsation

A noninvasive procedure at Gundersen Health System, called enhanced external counter pulsation (EECP), may offer relief from chronic angina. Patients who have had EECP often report a significant improvement in their ability to perform daily activities with little or no angina.

Good candidates for EECP

  • Have chronic angina
  • Have gotten all the benefit they can from available medications 
  • Are unable to be treated with bypass surgery or angioplasty

Benefits of EECP

  • Improved cardiac function due to enhanced blood flow to the heart and coronary arteries, and reduced workload on the heart muscle 
  • Stimulating the growth of new blood vessels around blocked arteries and improved function of existing blood vessels 
  • Reduced frequency and intensity of chest pain, thus reducing the need for angina medications 
  • Improved capacity for exercise and daily activities 
  • Improved quality of life

EECP treatments are given five days each week for seven consecutive weeks. During each hour-long treatment, compression cuffs inside special pants inflate and deflate in sequence around your calves, thighs and buttocks in a wave-like motion, timed to your heartbeats. When the heart contracts, the pants rapidly deflate, drawing blood out of the heart. The heart's efficiency improves because it doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood to your body. When the heart relaxes, the air chambers inflate increasing blood flow to the heart muscle. Most patients have no trouble tolerating the treatment sessions.

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