ECP Heart Care Overview

An FDA-Approved Natural Bypass Alternative

Cardiovascular Disease remains the number one killer of adults in the United States with 12.4 million patients suffering from chronic, painful angina heart pain at this very moment.

ECP Heartcare is a comprehensive program designed to prevent, minimize and even reverse coronary artery disease focusing first on rigorously identifying and then optimizing any of the multitudes of heart risk factors that uncontrolled caused artery blockages to develop in the first place either through lifestyle changes or selective medications where necessary.

Invasive procedures such as heart catheterizations, coronary artery stents, and bypass surgery can be critically important when they are properly timed, but with the goal to minimize their need and the risks always associated with their use unless all the noninvasive options have proven unsuccessful and it has become unsafe to further delay surgical approaches.

A patient will have only one shot at bypass surgery so they need to think of it as their Ace in the hole, which, though it carries significant risk, should be used when noninvasive alternatives have been exhausted. And yet, without proper control of those risk factors that caused the problem in the first place, the average bypass surgery will only last about eight years before the patient gets into trouble again. So let’s not play our Ace before we have to.

Such an argument also applies to the use of Coronary Artery Stents. They should also be reserved when a patient appears to be unstable and at too great a risk to wait any longer without placing a stent or even the bypass surgery.

One of the critically important options that we have in cardiology to help improve the circulation in the heart naturally is to help it grow its own natural bypasses. Watch carefully the video above about External Counterpulsation ECP which shows exactly how this happens.

It’s not witchcraft or black magic. It works even when bypassing surgery or stents have been tried and failed and that’s the reason why the FDA has approved it even for those with heart failure related to coronary artery disease with all traditional health insurances paying for it for those who have ongoing problems of a certain degree.

And that’s why most of the major cardiovascular outpatient centers in the United States, including the famed Cleveland Clinic, consistently the #1 rated cardiovascular center in the U.S., offers ECP as a viable option for their patients that are not felt to be reasonable candidates for interventional therapy

If either you or someone you care about has either had a heart attack or has been told that they are threatened with a heart attack or even heart failure due to prior heart attacks, then please share with them this information and see what physician and cardiologist Dr. DeStephens might recommend.

The Mechanics of ECP

A series of three cuffs are wrapped around the calves, thighs, and buttocks. Inflation and deflation of these cuffs are electronically synchronized in rhythm with your heartbeat using the EKG or cardiogram signal. During diastole, when your heart is relaxed, your heart and coronary arteries are normally filling with blood. During this relaxation phase, the cuffs inflate sequentially from the lower legs up toward the heart.

This sequential inflation causes the heart to fill more easily and fully than normal, and also gently stretches your coronary vessels.

This stretching or ballooning causes the release of Nitric Oxide within the vessel walls. This nitric oxide-rich environment stimulates the release of growth factors within the vessel walls that in turn stimulates the growth of new collateral vessels.

During systole, when your heart begins to pump, the cuffs rapidly and simultaneously deflate, creating a “vacuum effect” in the aorta.

This vacuum allows the heart to pump into a lower pressure system, which increases systolic unloading. All that means is that your heart does more work with less effort while you are receiving ECP© treatment.

Myocardial Perfusion Scan

The red area shows how much circulation is getting into the heart muscle before and after a treatment.

The new collateral vessels you grow around your heart during your ECP© treatments resupply the ischemic or blood-deficient areas of the heart. So rather than surgically grafting a vessel from your leg onto your heart to bypass the blockages you may have, as is done with bypass surgery, ECP© utilizes the natural healing mechanisms of the heart to grow these new bypasses… Naturally and nonsurgically!

  • ECP© treatments last one hour per day, five days a week for seven weeks, for a total of 35 hours.
  • During treatment, the patient lies comfortably on a treatment bed while the pressure cuffs inflate and deflate rhythmically with the patient’s own heartbeat.
  • Throughout the session, most patients listen to music, watch a movie, or even doze. You may bring in your own VHS movies or CDs, or feel free to bring a family member to keep you company.