advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Is EECP a Substitute for Heart Surgery?

Some alternative medicine physicians are recommending EECP as a natural bypass instead of open heart surgery. What do you think of this?

A
Answer (Published 8/10/2009)

EECP stands for Enhanced External Counter-Pulsation, a treatment that focuses on increasing blood flow to the heart. It is recommended for patients who have severe angina (angina pectoris), which is chest pain resulting from insufficient blood supply to the heart, an increased demand for oxygen by the heart, or a combination of both. Angina is a classic symptom of coronary artery disease and sometimes predicts heart attacks.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Heart Health - A healthful diet and lifestyle, along with prudent supplementation, can help prevent or lessen the risk of heart disease and related illnesses such as hypertension, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Learn more, and get your free, personalized nutritional supplement and vitamin recommendation today.

EECP may help reroute blood around narrowed or blocked arteries that are not supplying sufficient blood flow to the heart. It is an outpatient procedure during which cuffs are wrapped around the patient’s calves, thighs and buttocks. The cuffs are connected to air hoses that in turn are connected to valves that inflate and deflate the cuffs in sync with the patient’s heart beat. The pressure compresses blood vessels in the legs in order to increase blood flow to the heart. EECP may prompt blood vessels to create small channels (collaterals) that may act as "natural bypasses" to increase blood flow to the heart and relieve angina symptoms. The treatment is done one to two hours a day, five days a week, for seven weeks, for a total of 35 hours of EECP.

I discussed your question with Stephen R. Devries, M.D., a preventive cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and a graduate of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. He said that while EECP has been shown to reduce chest pain due to blocked arteries, it is not a true substitute for open heart bypass surgery. "When multiple serious blockages develop in the arteries of the heart, bypass surgery has been shown to improve survival. EECP has not," Dr. Devries said. It may be useful and recommended to help reduce chest pain in patients who are not candidates for surgery or other invasive procedures.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here