Whether it is bypass surgery or angioplasty, the basic idea is to increase the blood flow to the area of the heart muscle not receiving adequate blood supply. Once the blood supply is increased towards normal, the patient's chest pain will be decreased or eliminated and his or her exercise tolerance will improve.
In bypass surgery, the diseased section of your coronary artery is bypassed with a healthy artery or vein to increase the blood flow to the heart muscle area. Once the blood flow is restored, chest pain may be reduced or eliminated.
In angioplasty an inflatable balloon is introduced inside the obstructed coronary artery and the balloon is inflated once it is positioned inside the artery. The obstructed part is pressed against the vessel wall and the blood flow is restored.
During EECP, the heart muscle’s natural mechanism of forming new vessel is enhanced, which markedly increase the blood supply to the heart muscle. EECP also tends to improve the endothelial cell function that lines your coronary arteries, which determine the chance of getting heart attacks. EECP also decreases the heart rate and other deleterious Neurohomones, which damage the heart muscles.
Some patients want to visualize the post-EECP treatment improvement, when compared with their previous reports. They can repeat their Exercise treadmill test or Echo Cardiography or Nuclear scan after the treatment. Some physicians might feel follow-up tests are unnecessary, since the patient symptomatic clinical improvement itself has demonstrated increase blood flow to the heart muscle.
EECP is a safe, outpatient, non-invasive treatment. Hence, individuals don't have to restrict any of their daily routine work. The one-hour time treatment schedule can be fixed according to the patient’s convenience. Before the treatment is started, the patient is asked to wear tight fitting elastic pants. This is to prevent skin irritation and abrasion during the inflation and deflation of the cuffs. Some basic precautions include
EECP is not considered a replacement for coronary artery bypass surgery or balloon angioplasty. Instead EECP may delay the need for these invasive procedures. In many cases, relief will be sufficient to render them unnecessary. EECP is also used in patients who have already undergone surgery or angioplasty but not getting sufficient relief of their symptoms.
To prevent the progression of the heart disease, after completion of the EECP treatment, the patient should make life style changes like
Have regular follow-up with your cardiologist to lower your cholesterol, to control your blood pressure and diabetes. EECP treatment provides an accelerated means to develop new blood vessels.
Each patient responds differently. Most patients begin to feel the improvement after about 15 to 20 sessions. The usual feeling of increase in energy level is experienced about halfway through the six week session.
Patients as young as thirty and as old as ninety-five have successfully completed EECP without any complications. Many of our patients, in spite of their advance age having shown excellent results.
Occasionally, patients develop mild skin irritation and sometimes minor abrasion in the areas under the treatment cuffs or experience muscle or joint discomfort. Rarely, patients develop shortness of breath requiring immediate medical attention and hospitalization. Your EECP therapist and supervising doctors are trained to make your treatments safe and to minimize risk.