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External Counterpulsation (ECP) : Revitalizing Your Vascular Health

Poor circulation hinders oxygen and nutrient delivery to organs. Symptoms can include easy fatigability, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest tightness, palpitations, excessive sweating and cold limbs, and even muscle weakness or paralysis. These are all signs of “cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases,” one of the leading causes of mortality in Thailand. If you’re looking for a non-surgical way to boost blood flow to your heart muscle and deliver nutrients to various parts of your body, there’s no better solution than EECP (External Enhanced Counterpulsation Therapy) for heart and vascular rehabilitation.

External Counterpulsation (ECP) is a non-invasive, standard therapy from the United States that helps stimulate the heart’s functioning and improve blood circulation through the arteries and veins without surgery or medication. The ECP device uses compressed air to rhythmically squeeze the legs, promoting blood flow similar to exercise, allowing the body to receive adequate nutrients and undergo natural healing.

How does ECP Therapy work?

The ECP machine uses inflatable cuffs that are wrapped around 3 parts of the legs : the calves, thighs, and hips. The cuffs are inflated and deflated in sequence, synchronized with your heartbeat. This helps to increase blood flow to your heart during diastole (the resting phase of the heartbeat) and reduce blood flow during systole (the contracting phase of the heartbeat). When the heart relaxes to refill, the cuffs inflate to help push blood back to the heart, enhancing circulation and making the blood vessels more flexible.

ECP is suitable for patients with heart failure, weakened heart muscle, blocked or narrowed arteries in the heart or brain, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, Parkinson’s, or stroke-related paralysis. It can also benefit those looking to prevent cardiovascular risks, improve sexual function, or enhance sports performance and recovery.

The advantages of ECP

ECP Therapy has both therapeutic and preventive benefits. It can be used as a treatment for various heart conditions, particularly for those who are not suitable for surgery or chemotherapy. Additionally, it can also be used to promote overall cardiovascular health. Here are some of the key benefits of ECP Therapy :

– Improved oxygen and nutrient delivery to organs 

– Stimulation of new blood vessel growth and enhanced heart function

– Increased blood circulation to various body parts, improving vision, hearing, liver and kidney function 

– Reduced sexual dysfunction 

– Better sleep quality 

– Increased energy, exercise capacity, and reduced muscle fatigue

How to prepare before getting ECP

Before undergoing Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP) therapy, it is crucial to consult with a qualified healthcare professional to determine if ECP is suitable for your specific medical condition. ECP’s method of stimulating blood flow may not be appropriate for certain patients.

– Recent Surgery (Within 2 Months): Patients who have undergone recent surgery may not be suitable for ECP due to the potential for increased bleeding or complications.

– Recent Cardiac Catheterization (Within 2 Weeks): ECP may not be recommended immediately following a cardiac catheterization procedure to allow for proper healing and recovery.

– Cardiac Arrhythmias: Patients with underlying cardiac arrhythmias may not benefit from ECP, as it could potentially worsen their arrhythmic condition.

– Extremely Low or High Heart Rate: ECP is generally not indicated for patients with a resting heart rate below 35 beats per minute or above 120 beats per minute.

– Severe Heart Valve Abnormalities: Patients with severe heart valve abnormalities, such as significant valve regurgitation, may not be suitable for ECP due to the potential for increased strain on the heart.

– Severe Hypertension: ECP may not be effective for patients with uncontrolled hypertension (blood pressure exceeding 180/110 mmHg), as it could further elevate blood pressure.

Therefore, it is essential to undergo a thorough evaluation by your healthcare provider to ensure you do not have any of the aforementioned contraindications and that your medical condition is not severe enough to warrant immediate surgery or alternative treatment methods.

Longa Heart Health Medical Center is a qualified non-surgical cardiovascular care center with ECP program that includes all heart attack services. For more information, contact us at 099 986 8443.