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Definition of «Enhanced external counterpulsation»

Enhanced external counterpulsation: A non-invasive out-patient treatment for heart disease and, in particular, for angina (chest pain due to an inadequate supply of oxygen to the heart muscle). EECP is designed to relieve angina by improving perfusion in areas of the heart deprived of an adequate blood supply. EECP uses a device to inflate and deflate a series of compressive cuffs that are wrapped around the calves and lower and upper thighs. The basic principle involved is that of counterpulsation.

The cuffs inflate during diastole, the period when the heart muscle relaxes and the chambers fill with blood. The cuffs inflate sequentially from the calves upwards, resulting in increased pressure in the aorta and coronary arteries. Compression of the vascular bed in the legs also increases the return of venous blood to the heart and increases cardiac output. Patients are customarily treated with EECP for an hour a day for a total of 35 hours. See also: Counterpulsation.

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