EECP Treatment Helps Relieve Chest Pain, Discomfort for Some

Heart Health News

For almost a decade, Dayton Heart Center has provided some heart patients with a unique treatment that greatly improves their quality of life.

Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) helps patients experiencing angina pain (chest pain or discomfort) and patients with congestive heart failure. Patients from all over have been referred to Dayton Heart Center to receive the treatment because it is the only practice in the greater Miami Valley to provide EECP.

The minimally invasive procedure uses cuffs – similar to those used to take someone’s blood pressure – placed around the calves, thighs, and area of the larger buttocks muscles. As the cuffs tighten and release, they push blood back from the lower part of the body to the heart, improving the patient’s circulation, says Larry Ethun, an EECP tech at Dayton Heart Center. 

Medicare and most insurances cover 35 treatments a year, he adds. 

Rather than having patients do all the treatments at once and risk returning to their initial pain without any treatments left for the year, Dayton Heart Center spreads the treatments out into an initial visit and follow up visits.

Every four months, patients receiving EECP return for two weeks of follow-up maintenance procedures.

During each visit, the patient lays on a treatment bed while the machine works.

“Because of the treatment, the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump the blood to the body, so their blood has more oxygen, making their pain go away,” Ethun says.

The machine is started at a low pressure with each patient so they have time to get used to it. The pressure is then increased as the treatments continue and as the patients’ bodies become more comfortable with it.

“Our patients come back and say they feel great afterward,” Kamran Riaz, MD, a cardiologist with Dayton Heart Center, says. “They have more energy, their chest pain decreases, and – most importantly – their overall quality of life has improved.”

Though EECP won’t completely get rid of angina pain and can’t cure congestive heart failure, it works to improve patients’ blood flow and decrease their pain level, Ethun says. 

“If angina pain and congestive heart failure are keeping people from doing everyday things like walking to the mailbox, going on a bike ride, or playing with their grandchildren, we want to try to help change that,” Dr. Riaz says. “EECP helps patients do the things in life that they want to do and live the life they want to live.”

For more information about Dayton Heart Center and EECP, call (937) 277-4274 or visit Dayton Heart Center

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