External Counterpulsation (ECP) Therapy can give your heart the benefit of five years of intensive marathon training in only seven weeks...with no exercise!


The ECP device provides a non-invasive treatment for patients with Angina and/or Congestive Heart Failure. ECP treatment is typically provided on an outpatient basis in 35 one-hour sessions over a period of approximately seven weeks. Additional hours may be safely and effectively added to this standard regimen if the physician evaluation of the patient's response to treatment will result in greater relief of angina symptoms. In certain circumstances, adjusting the patient's treatment regimen to two hours per day can make it more comfortable for the patient to complete a course of ECP therapy.

To receive ECP therapy, the patient reclines on a treatment table. Three sets of comfortable, inflatable cuffs (similar to blood pressure cuffs) are snugly and securely wrapped around the patient's calves, thighs and buttocks. The cuffs are inflated sequentially at the onset of diastole and deflated before the onset of systole. The inflation and deflation are specifically timed with the patient's ECG to optimize therapeutic benefit. This sequence increases coronary perfusion pressure and venous return to the right heart (increasing preload and cardiac output). The simultaneous deflation, at the onset of systole, rapidly decreases cardiac afterload (creating systolic unloading) of the heart.


External Counter Pulsation increases the blood flow to the heart through sequential compression of the lower extremities of the body in synchronization with a patient's electrocardiogram. This therapy has proven to be useful in the treatment of heart attacks (myocardial infarction), cardiogenic shock, angina and congestive heart failure.

Clinical experience indicates that patients have demonstrated improvement after external counter pulsation treatment such as:

  • Less recurrent chest pain
  • Less ventricular fibrillation
  • Reduction or elimination of shock symptoms
  • Decrease in heart size
  • Less progression to cardiac failure
  • Afterload reduction
  • Increased quality of life
  • Decreased mortality rates

Published studies* have demonstrated total relief from angina pain and elimination or a significant reduction of the ischemic (oxygen deprived) areas of the heart in approximately 78% of stable angina patients.

* Lawson et.al., 1995, 1996, 2000

In a paper* published in March of 2001 in a peer reviewed journal, none of the 58 patients studied died or suffered a major cardiac event. Canadian Cardiovascular Society Functional Classification System ("CCSF") classification showed improvement in all three CCSF groups. For the entire group of 58 patients, CCSF class was reduced from 2.67 to 1.71 (36%). Overall, 84% of the patients (49 of 58) experienced a reduction in their CCSF class. In addition, 91% of the patients experienced a reduction in their anginal episodes per 24 hour period post-treatment. Of the 24 patients who had been hospitalized in the six months prior to treatment, only one (4%) required hospitalization in the six month period after treatment. Medication consumption also decreased 77.4%. The paper concluded that CardiAssistT ECP significantly reduces CCSF angina class, the incidence of anginal episodes, hospitalization for angina and anti-anginal medication use.

* Weisfogel et.al.2001



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