Treatment for Relief of Angina & Congestive
The ECP procedure is a non–invasive, outpatient treatment that can relieve or eliminate angina. This section will explain what to expect during ECP treatment, describes its potential benefits, and answers commonly–asked questions. Please share the information in this section with your family and friends, or refer them to this Web site. If you have any questions after reading it, please write them down and discuss them with your physician.
If you are one of more than seven million people in the United States with angina, you may be all too familiar with angina.
Angina signals that a part of your heart muscle is not receiving an adequate supply of blood and oxygen. The heart requires a particularly rich blood supply because of its heavy workload, and receives this nourishment through the coronary arteries. When these vessels are narrowed or blocked, restricting blood flow, they fail to supply adequate oxygen.
When you have angina, your body is telling you that your heart is not receiving enough oxygen.
ECP treatment, in harmony with your heart, can improve circulation to your heart muscle. ECP treatment appears to stimulate the opening of new, natural pathways around narrowed or blocked arteries:
After ECP treatment you may find that you:
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- Can walk farther, carry heavier packages, and be more active without having angina
- Have fewer attacks of angina
- Episodes of angina are less intense
- Need less anti–anginal medication
- Can return to work, go out to dinner, garden, travel, or enjoy golf, tennis, or bowling once again
- No longer have to restrict your social life, volunteer activities, or exercise because you are worried that they will cause angina.
Preparing for ECP Treatment
Once you are eligible to receive ECP treatment, it is important that you understand the treatment schedule. Patients typically attend one–hour treatment sessions once a day, five days a week for seven to nine weeks. Many people receive treatment, without interruption to their employment by scheduling their sessions before or after work.
In order to make sure that the treatment goes smoothly, please follow your Pre–Treatment Instructions. Special instructions will be explained by your ECP therapist.
- Arrive 10 to 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment.
- Take all medications as instructed.
- Do not eat (except medication) or drink within 1 1/2 hours before treatment.
- Choose clothing that is easy to change.
- Stretch pants, usually provided by the center, should be worn in order to reduce the possibility of skin irritation.
- Men and women should wear form–fitting underwear.
- Wear a loose, comfortable top with an open neck.
- Wear short socks.
You may bring music (CD player or tape player with earphones) or something to read.
A friend or relative may stay with you during your treatment.
You will be given a pair of stretch pants to wear at each treatment session. Although treatment usually takes one hour, you should plan to spend approximately 1 1/2 hours at the treatment center.
Your doctor will evaluate you in order to determine if you may be eligible to receive ECP treatment. You may be a candidate for ECP treatment if:
- you have angina
- nitroglycerin does not provide adequate relief from your angina you have been told that you are not a candidate for bypass surgery or angioplasty
- you underwent bypass surgery or angioplasty in the past, and angina has returned
- you want to explore all treatment options.
Some people may not be candidates for ECP treatment because of their medical conditions. Only a physician can make a decision regarding whether or not you are a candidate for ECP treatment.
Raising the Threshold for Angina
Clinical studies indicate that ECP treatment may create a "natural bypassTM" around narrowed or blocked portions of arteries. These channels or collaterals may eventually become permanent pathways for blood to reach the heart muscle that was previously deprived of adequate nourishment.
A controlled, randomized, blinded study showed that a significant increase in the length of time that participants who had received active treatment were able to exercise.
For more information visit www.eecp.com
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M. K., 69 – underwent four cardiac catheterizations, four angioplasties, and a triple bypass. After these procedures, she still experienced frequent debilitating angina.
After receiving ECP treatment, M. K. had angina only once or twice a month. She returned to scouting for antiques with her husband, and singing in the church choir.
D. P., 52 – had a family history of heart disease and a heart attack at age 50. She then underwent three angioplasties, which failed.
After ECP treatment, D. P. did everything in "moderation". She walked two or three miles everyday and went to cardiac rehabilitation three times a week.
C. H., 70 – has had angina since 1970. Angioplasty and bypass surgery failed to provide lasting relief.
After ECP treatment, C. H. enjoyed permanent "R & R". His travel plans for the year included visiting California, Las Vegas, Florida, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Colorado.
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