Enhanced External Counterpulsation—”The Natural Bypass”
CJ Puotinen for Carol Wilcock, RN
March-April 2020 • Vol 3, No 109
EECP or Enhanced External Counterpulsation is becoming recognized as a highly effective treatment for patients with heart disease. Over 300 articles have been published about EECP in medical journals, and the FDA has approved it for the treatment of refractory angina, congestive heart failure, hypertension, and other cardiovascular conditions. Some physicians, such as Julian Whitaker, MD, who runs the Whitaker Wellness Institute in Newport Beach, California, call EECP a “natural bypass.”
In EECP therapy, the patient lies on a padded table and three electrodes are applied to the chest and connected to an EKG (electrocardiograph) machine, which displays the heart’s rhythm during treatment. Blood pressure and oxygen saturation are also monitored.
Inflatable cuffs are applied around the lower legs, upper legs, and hips. These cuffs continuously inflate and deflate in perfect rhythm with the patient’s pulse, increasing the flow of blood to the heart and the amount of oxygen that reaches damaged heart tissue. Patients experience a strong “hug” sensation that moves upward from the calves to the thighs to the buttocks during inflation, followed by the rapid release of pressure. Inflation and deflation are electronically synchronized with the patient’s heartbeat and blood pressure.