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External Counterpulsation Therapy (ECP)

External Counterpulsation Therapy (ECP) is a non-invasive technique for improving circulation within the heart muscle for patients who suffer from stable angina. During ECP Therapy, cuffs are placed firmly around the calves, thighs, and buttocks inflating and deflating in synchronization with the cardiac cycle. Counterpulsation is designed to increase blood flow to the heart and decrease the heart's workload. This increases the heart's oxygen supply while decreasing its demand for oxygen. In addition, ECP therapy has been proven effective at stimulating collateral vessel development.

ECP is also used to improve cardiac function in patients with congestive heart failure. Studies have shown that ECP reduces exertional ischemia and angina symptoms, and improves the patient's tolerance for exercise. Many patients are also able to reduce their use of heart medications following ECP treatment. Some Congestive Heart Failure patients have shown significant improvement in cardiac output and oxygen utilization.

ECP treatment is administered on an outpatient basis and carries little or no risk. Treatments are usually provided in 35 one-hour sessions, 5 days a week for 7 weeks. Our ECP team consists of two registered nurses, a respiratory therapist and an exercise specialist; all certified and educated with the ECP system. The ECP clinic is located in the Cardiac Rehab department at the Dosher Wellness Center, with J.L. Aldrich, MD, as the medical director.

Talk to your doctor or call the Cardiac Rehab team at Dosher at (910) 457-3871, and find out if ECP is right for you.


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