End Angina With EECP
Julian Whitaker, MD
Many of the heart patients I treat have been told by conventional doctors that they need angioplasty or bypass surgery, and they come to me in order to avoid such drastic treatment. Yet even though effective, nonsurgical approaches to heart surgery exist, most doctors don’t offer them.
A prime example of this is enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP). It was developed by Harry Soroff, MD, at Harvard University almost 50 years ago as a treatment for angina pectoris, the chest pain associated with heart disease. It works like this. You lie on a flat or slightly elevated surface, and what amounts to a body stocking is strapped on your lower extremities from the ankles to just below the waist. Then, timed with each beat of your heart, the stocking contracts, forcing blood up the extremities through the veins back to the heart, thereby increasing its flow throughout your body to your heart muscle and brain.
EECP Works Like a Heart Bypass—Without Surgery
EECP also opens up collateral circulation, making it nature’s equivalent to heart bypass surgery. As arteries gradually become blocked, the heart opens up additional avenues of blood around the blockage. By counterpulsing the blood flow to the heart with this machine, the growth of collateral circulation is rapidly accelerated. In no time at all, new collaterals are opened, supplying adequate oxygen—and nutrient-rich blood to the heart muscle and alleviating angina pain.
One treatment session lasts about an hour, and aside from the squeezing sensation, there is no discomfort or danger. In fact, I’ve tested it myself, and during the first treatment I fell asleep. A usual course is 35 one-hour treatments, given twice a day. In three or four weeks, far less time than it takes to recuperate from a bypass, the problem is often eliminated.
It Completely Eliminated Pain in Most Patients
In a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology, 18 patients with chronic angina who had already had surgery and were being treated with medication were given EECP therapy five times a week. After the full course, 16 of the 18 patients reported complete relief from angina, while the other two had some improvement. Thallium stress tests showed a complete resolution of the obstructive blood flow in 67 percent of the patients, partial reduction in 11 percent, and no change in 22 percent.
In another study, 12 patients reported an average 3.9 episodes of chest pain per day, rating the pain at 2.9 out of 4. After a full EECP course, the pain episodes were reduced to an average of 0.1 per day (one episode every 10 days) with an intensity of only 1.7 out of 4. All of the patients reported improvements in their ability to work, their energy level, and their sense of well-being.
EECP Improves Quality of Life
One patient who benefited form EECP is B.D., who had a long history of angina. After 35 EECP treatments, he had a dramatic improvement in his angina, as well as his overall quality of life. Compared to the days when he was taking nitroglycerin regularly, he became almost completely drug-free, and was able to perform exercises that used to cause him severe pain.
Even for patients who have deteriorated after bypass and have few options left, EECP can be a lifesaver. This was certainly the case with R.S. After two bypass operations, R.S. was left with extensive scar tissue in his chest cavity, plugged-up grafts, and almost constant angina. He was deteriorating rapidly and had very few options. After EECP, his chest pain has been alleviated, and a repeat PET scan showed substantial improvement in blood flow to his heart muscle.
A Great Therapy Is Finally Being Recognized
Even though it was developed at one of the most prestigious medical centers in this country and has been widely used in China, EECP was ignored in this country for decades. Those whose livelihoods depend on heart catheterizations and surgery have been reluctant to endorse a relatively inexpensive therapy that can be administered outside a hospital.
The good news is EECP is slowly making inroads in this country. If you’ve been told you need bypass surgery or angioplasty, or if you have angina or other symptoms of heart disease, you owe it to yourself to research the profound benefits of EECP.
- For more information on EECP treatment at the Whitaker Wellness Institute, call (866) 944-8253 or click here.
- If you’d like to learn more about the Whitaker Wellness approach to treating heart disease, read my book, Reversing Heart Disease. Call (800) 810-6655 to order a copy.
- Fricchione, GL et al. Psychosocial effects of enhanced external counterpulsation in the angina patient. Psychosomatics. Sept.-Oct. 1995;36(5):494-49.
- Lawson, WE et al. Efficacy of enhanced external counterpulsation in the treatment of angina pectoris. Am J Cardio. Oct. 1, 1992;70:859-862.
- Lawson, WE et al. Improved exercise tolerance followed enhanced external counterpulsation: cardiac or peripheral effect. Cardiology. 1996;87:105.
Modified from Health & Healing with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC. Copyright 2007. Photocopying, reproduction, or quotation strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. To subscribe to Health & Healing, click here.