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(EECP) External Enhanced Counter Pulsation

Treatment in the last 30 years or so for angina has improved considerably with the use of bypass surgery, balloon angioplasties and stent insertion. However it must be realized that this condition is not curable. These forms of invasive treatment help patients considerably with their symptomatology and in a smaller percentage improve the life expectancy but the indigenous disease remains. The majority of patients who have had this work performed will once again develop symptoms 10-20 years later. Further interventional work may be possible for them but in a percentage of patients this treatment cannot be offered to them a second or third time because of the difficulties of the procedure and the dangers that may be involved. EECP therapy then comes into its own. It is a form of treatment that helps 70-80% of patients with angina to lead a much more normal life with less angina symptoms.

There are very few centres in this country that have the equipment to be able to offer this therapy. Pilgrim Hospital, part of the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust is one of the hospitals that has EECP equipment. The Pilgrim Heart and Lung Fund purchased this equipment in 2007 for just under £170,000 and we were able to provide it thanks to ongoing support from the public to the heart and Lung Fund. Up until that point I had sent a number of patients to Professor Cleland in Hull and they were much better afterwards. I and staff in the Cardiorespiratory Unit were trained in the use of the equipment at Bradford Royal Infirmary where they have been using the equipment for a few years. We have now put a number of patients through this treatment all of whom have felt much better afterwards from an angina point of view and are able to live a more normal life.

Clinical trials of EECP date back to the 1960s and have been ongoing since then. EECP has been used as an effective treatment for patients with chronic angina for 30 years in China in 1800 centres and 15 years in the United States in currently more than 100 centres. This service however has only recently been introduced into Europe and the UK. There are approximately 15 centres within the UK undertaking EECP and Pilgrim Hospital is only hospital in Lincolnshire to offer this service, and I receive referrals from all over the county. The successful results in the UK parallel those of the Registry from the USA.

     Dr. Cyril Nyman, Consultant Cardiologist.

A patient receives EECP treatment at Pilgrim Hospital from Mrs. Sandra Winn, Senior Cardiographer, and Dr. Cyril Nyman.
A patient receives EECP treatment at Pilgrim Hospital from Mrs. Sandra Winn, Senior Cardiographer, and Dr. Cyril Nyman.