External Counterpulsation (ECP) is non-surgical, requires no medication and is a safe outpatient treatment option for people suffering from a diseased or weakened heart that includes angina and/or heart failure. At All About Youth Centers, ECP is prescribed by a cardiologist at end-stage cardiovascular disease and also prior to heart-bypass surgery or angioplasty with stents.
Our physicians see positive improvement as a result of ECP treatment for people suffering from stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, angina/chest pain, heart failure, heart attack, and diseases like obesity, kidney failure, eye disease, and more.
We treat patients with degenerative cardiovascular diseases including hypertension, stroke, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, and vascular disease. After several courses of ECP therapy, peoples’ conditions functionally improve.
How ECP Works
You lie on a comfortable ECP bed. You are hooked to a heart monitor. Three large blood-pressure-like cuffs wrap around the calves, thighs and lower buttocks. When the heart is at rest, the cuffs squeeze the calves, thighs and buttocks in rapid sequence. Blood moves from lower legs back to the heart and through the entire body feeding heart tissue with oxygenated blood. When the heart pumps, the cuffs deflate rapidly and do not interfere with the body’s natural function. ECP treatment is like a second heart pumping while yours is at rest, like passive cardiovascular exercise.
- Sheer force of reversed (from legs to heart), oxygenated blood flow increases.
- Important hormones, gases and cells are secreted within the entire arterial system.
- Nitric oxide is a gas that contributes to dilation (widening) of the artery wall to increase blood flow throughout the body and all organs.
- Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a hormone that has been shown to stimulate growth of new collaterals and improved arterial function. VEGF is critical to the process of angiogenesis during ECP when new pathways form and naturally bypass blockages.
- Progenitor cells and hematopoietic cells are dislodged from arterial walls and enter circulation. The new stem cells replace old cells and repair damaged tissue while promoting regeneration of the arterial system and organs throughout the body.
- Circulating stem cells restore, repair, recover and regenerate damaged tissue in the heart and all other organs.
- Inflammation within the body decreases; inflammation is known to be the balance between health and disease.
- Exercise promotes an increase in circulating stem cells.
- ECP is considered to be passive exercise, and circulating stem cells increase during treatment.
- Increasing circulating stem cells is a component of regenerative therapy.
- Clinical benefits are long-term even after completion of 35 hours of ECP therapy.
- ECP is an alternate therapy for people who need heart-bypass surgery, angioplasty or stents. ECP stimulates new arterial (collaterals) growth wherever blockages occur within your body’s arteries.
The History of ECP
- Was invented at Harvard University in the late 1950s
- Is safe, non-surgical and medication free
- Was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA):
- 1970s for heart attack and cardiogenic shock
- 1995 for angina pectoris at any stage
- 2002 for congestive heart failure
- Was approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:
- 2000 for angina pectoris end stage only
ECP is a treatment for the following diseases or conditions:
- Angina pectoris
- Congestive heart failure
- Peripheral artery disease
- Leg pain
- Renal failure
- Shortness of breath
- Poor circulation
- Sports enhancement
- Erectile dysfunction
- Quality of life
- Exercise duration and increased stamina
ECP Proof Points
Clinical research has shown ECP promotes angiogenesis described as growth of new collaterals for blood to naturally flow around blocked arteries. In Jan. 2010, scientists published a study in the journal Frontiers in Bioscience explaining that ECP is a regenerative therapy and stimulates growth of stem cells.
Professionals in the field of ECP are discovering more about how ECP positively affects the body’s circulation, inflammation and cardiovascular health by repairing, restoring, rejuvenating and re-growing organs and tissue throughout the body.
Hundreds of clinical research studies prove that ECP positively influences cardiovascular health in a variety of ways.
ECP has been proven to:
- Treat/improve ischemic (diseased) heart tissue
- Improve the effects of angina pectoris (chest pain)
- Positively improve congestive heart failure
- Promote regeneration of organs
- Stimulate angiogenesis (growth of new arteries)
- Eliminate/reduce angina pectoris (chest pain)
- Reduce/reverse arterial stiffness (blood pressure)
- Improve neuro-hormones
- Improve function of endothelial (arterial) system
- Have long-term, sustained effects