EECP Question

Hello Folks,

I have a question for you good people. Have any of you undergone external counterpulsation (EECP) to treat your angina? I have a pacemaker, CHF, attacks of angina and since about mid-March I have had more than a fair share of arrhythmia episodes to the point that my physical activity has become almost nil. The arrhythmia is likely to occur anytime, but I have learned the hard way that physical activity, as simple as walking a couple of blocks, will bring on an episode along with some pretty severe angina.. So far I have had a stent implanted (what that was supposed to do I don't know) three different anti-arrhythmia medications prescribed that have done little or nothing, and my pacemaker adjusted to hell won't have it.

Now my cardiologist is talking about my undergoing 35 hours of EECP over a 7 week period. The treatments are done 5 days week and take one hour each. One of these treatments will consume about half-a-day, including travel time. While I may not have a lot of activity planned, I can think of better ways to spend my time for 5 days a week for 7 weeks if I all I have is a "maybe" that it will help.

I have found lots of information on the treatment, now I would like to hear from someone that has had the treatment. I would especially like to know what benefits they received from the treaments.




Glad to hear the update!

by tcrabtree85 - 2007-07-09 09:07:13

I am so happy to have an update. I know nothing about what you are talking about so now i'm on search to understand exactly what this test consists of. Please keep us updated. Your in my thoughts Smitty. If the doctors think this stuff will work I would say go for it even if it takes so much time of your day. You won't know until you try if it makes you feel better and if it does you can recommend it to others and if not you can warn everyone that it is no good. It is only 7 weeks and you never know it may boost up your energy a little.
I pray that things will go well for you.



by pacepal - 2007-07-09 10:07:33

I,too, so appreciate all the information you share.

Years! ago I had this proceedure as an attempt to interrupt episodes of AT/AF....pre-pacemaker. Here is a site with info you may want to read:

Many thanks to you and to all who have shared their experiences and information...I greatly benefit from this forum.

prayers & gratitude for you, Karen

Thank You

by SMITTY - 2007-07-09 10:07:46

Thank all of you very much. I’ll have more to say later, but right now I feel like I’m in a foot race with the Grim Reaper. Been there and done that before and obviously won those races and I’ll win this one, but Jesus, I’m getting tired.



by CathrynB - 2007-07-09 12:07:17

Well, Smitty, I've never heard of EECP so can't offer you any help, but I'm glad to hear some details on how you're doing. I've wondered what was up with you as you've been posting less frequently lately. I wasn't sure if it was health concerns or your "wife telling you to stop posting and maybe you'll learn something". If the latter, please tell her we greatly appreciate her caring attempts to direct you, but WE WANT YOU BACK!!! Or at least I do. So where do you have to go from Salado to get these treatments that makes it a half day orderal?? Please take care, and know you're in the thoughts and prayers of many of your friends here, and if you choose to have the treatments, we hope it solves your problem. Cathryn


by jessie - 2007-07-09 12:07:26

no i don't know nor do i have a clue what you mean. sorry you are having so much difficulty. it would help to talk to someone who has had this and then you could make an informed decision as to whether you would go ahead, maybe several people. maybe smitty you could ask the doctor if you could speak to a few people he has treated? take care praying for you jessie

site with info about External CounterpulsationEECP, you are looking for

by Maguila - 2007-07-10 09:07:53

Hi Smitty,
Are you doing better? And did you decide to make the treatment? I was looking for some information about your new problem, and have found this site who explained very well what´s happening in your case and how the treatment is.I know it seams very much tired, but it can help you feel better, I really don´t know....
I wish you all the best, get well soon and please don´t despair !!!!

The subject is Chronic Angina Therapy: Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP)

All the best,
Manuela L.

Thank You Again

by SMITTY - 2007-07-11 12:07:17

I want to say again, thank all of you very much. Those of you that offered encouragement and those that offered sources of additional information on EECP, I’ll not even try to say how much each of you has helped. I have learned first hand why people like this site so much. I had EECP mentioned to me as a possible treatment in 2005. Since then I have researched EECP enough that I thought I was not likely to get much new information. Well, thanks to you I was wrong!

It has been 25 years since my first encounter with heart disease. At least so far as I know that was my first encounter. Those 25 years have been a roller coaster ride, but I never had any doubt that the light at the end of the tunnel was just around the next bend and that I would reach that light. This time I’m into my 5th month with this problem and if anything I have regressed rather than progressed. And I’ll be the first to admit that it is beginning to take its toll on the old man’s mind. In years gone by when I had a problem I would go to bed at night hoping that I would feel better the next morning. I now find myself going to bed hoping that I don’t feel worse the next morning.

I continue to go to doctors and they talk about possible treatment regimens. Even when they prescribe a new medication they will give me two prescriptions. One for enough to make a short-term trial and if it seems to be working then I am to fill the prescription for the larger amounts for the longer run. That tells me pretty quickly they too are in a trial and error mode. But, at least they take my pocket book into consideration and I appreciate that.

Again though, hearing from you people and knowing that you took the time to think about my problem and offer whatever help you can means more than I can ever say. So far you have been more help than the professionals.

Thank you.


An alternative to bypass surgery

by Surferman - 2007-07-11 12:07:45

Hi Smitty -
Here is what I've found about it in a recent Whitaker Wellness newsletter.
EECP is a mechanical therapy that pumps blood up toward the heart, boosting circulation and stimulating the growth of new arteries around blocked one. A number of clinical trialshave shown that EECP relieves angina, improves exercise tolerance, and increases blood flow to the heart. In one study published in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 139 patients with angina were randomized to receive either 35 hours of EECP or 35 hours of plecebo counterpulsation over a four-to-seven-week period. Patients underwent an exercise treadmill at the beginning and end of the study. In comparison to their baseline performance, patients who had received EECP were able to exercise considerably longer before abnormalities were noted on testing. They also experienced significantly fewer episodes of angina and were able to decrease their use of nitroglycerin.
The article concludes that EECP is a painless
alternative to bypass surgery.
I hope this helps. Good Luck. Surferman

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I just want to share about the quality of life after my pacemaker, and hopefully increase awareness that lifestyles do not have to be drastically modified just because we are pacemaker recipients.