Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the advantages of EECP® therapy?
A: EECP® therapy is not invasive, does not require a hospital stay, has no recovery period, and allows you to return to your routine each day after receiving treatment.
Q: What are the benefits of EECP® therapy?
A: Most patients experience positive results, such as the following:
- Having no angina or angina that is less frequent and less intense
- Having more energy
- Being able to take part in more activities of daily living with little or no angina or heart failure symptoms
- Enjoying a better quality of life
- Having a more positive outlook
Q: Is EECP® treatment comfortable?
A: There is a feeling of pressure from the cuffs around your legs and buttocks. Once you become accustomed to this pressure, the sessions usually pass comfortably.
Q: How will I feel after the treatment?
A: EECP® therapy is often described as being like “passive exercise,” so you may feel tired after the first few days of treatment. This is normal, especially if you haven’t been exercising. Usually, once this short “training period” is over, you will begin to notice that you have more energy.
Q: How long do the benefits of EECP® therapy last after a course of treatment?
A: The International EECP® Patient Registry (IEPR) collects data on the safety, effectiveness, and long-term benefits of EECP® therapy. The IEPR data have shown that benefits of EECP® therapy can last up to three years after completing the first course (35 hours) of treatment. Other smaller studies have shown the benefits last up to five years in some patients.
Q: When can I expect to feel improvement?
A: Each patient responds differently. Most patients report beginning to feel better about halfway through the seven weeks.
Q: Can I have therapy more than once?
A: Yes. If your symptoms return, your doctor will decide if you need to repeat your EECP® treatments.
Q: What if I miss an appointment?
A: Having your EECP® therapy each day of the seven-week treatment course is an important part of receiving the greatest benefit. Missed treatments are usually made up so you receive all 35 hours.
Q: Can I exercise during the weeks I’m receiving EECP® therapy?
A: Your doctor will discuss an exercise program, how and when you should begin, and how much you should do. Exercising can help you keep the benefits of your EECP® treatments.
Q: When can I resume sexual activity?
A: Like exercise, this is an important issue to discuss with your doctor.
Q: Can everyone have EECP® therapy?
A: Your doctor knows your medical history and condition and will determine if you can have EECP® therapy.
Q: What are the risks of EECP® therapy?
A: Occasionally, patients develop mild skin irritation in the areas under the treatment cuffs or experience muscle or joint discomfort. Some patients feel tired after the first few treatments but this usually ends after the first week. Rarely, patients develop shortness of breath requiring hospitalization and treatment. Your EECP® therapist is trained to make your treatments safe and to minimize risk.
Q: Does insurance cover EECP® therapy?
A: Yes. Medicare covers EECP® treatments for the patients who meet the Medicare criteria. Most private insurance companies have coverage policies similar to Medicare.
Information provided by Vasomedical Inc.
EECP is a registered trademark of Vasomedical Inc.
1 Soran O. A New Treatment Modality in Heart Failure Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP). Cardiology in Review. 2004 Jan-Feb;12(1):15-20.
2 IEPR (International EECP® Patient Registry), University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health, Department ofEpidemiology (www.edc.gsph.pitt.edu/iepr/), data on file.
What Is EECP Therapy?
EECP therapy is an outpatient treatment for angina and heart failure. Treatments are usually given for an hour each day, five days a week, for a total of 35 hours.During the treatment, you lie on a comfortable treatment table with large blood pressure-like cuffs wrapped around your legs and buttocks. These cuffs inflate and deflate at specific times between your heart beats. A continuous electro cardiogram (ECG) is used to set the timing so the cuffs inflate while the heart is at rest, when it normally gets its supply of blood and oxygen. The cuffs deflate at the end of that rest period, just before the next heart beat. The special sensor applied to your finger checks the oxygen level in your blood and monitors the pressure waves created by the cuff inflations and deflations.