Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) is a treatment for chronic, stable chest pain known as angina. Angina happens when there is not enough blood and oxygen being pumped to the heart to support the work it is doing. It may also be used to treat certain people withheart failure.

Cuffs, similar to blood pressure cuffs, are placed on the legs. These cuffs inflate and deflate with air to the rhythm of the heart. This helps to push blood back toward the heart, increasing blood flow. Since circulation is improved, the heart does not have to work so hard.

The Cardiovascular System
cardiosystem
EECP pushes blood back toward the heart to reduce the heart's workload.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

You may have EECP to treat angina if:

  • Your medications are not working well enough
  • You are not a good candidate for surgery
  • Your doctor wants you to try nonmedical alternative before considering surgery
  • You have had surgery but are still having chest pain

The benefits of EECP may include:

  • Decrease in symptoms of angina
  • Decreased need for angina medications
  • Ability to do activities, such as exercise, without angina
  • Improved heart function if a lack of oxygenated blood flow is a problem
  • Improved quality of life