After a series of major heart attacks and a triple bypass, William Garguilo still had frequent attacks of angina. He said, “I couldn’t walk two blocks; I felt knocked out all of the time. My legs felt like dead weights, and I couldn’t catch my breath.”
Only then was he offered a last-ditch, non-invasive, drug-free natural therapy. Now he goes for five-mile walks, swims, and plays soccer with his grandchildren.
Debra Braverman M.D., an authority on the therapy, calls it “medicine’s best kept secret.” It’s called enhanced external counter-propulsion, or EECP.
When he first heard about EECP, Dr. Julian Whitaker, founder of the Whitaker Wellness Institute, was skeptical. The therapy seemed far too simple to have much of an effect on advanced cardiovascular disease. But a patient named Richard changed his mind.
After two coronary bypasses, multiple angioplasty/stent surgeries, and a nitroglycerine patch for pain relief, Richard still had significant chest pain and poor exercise tolerance. Further surgery was not an option because of extensive scarring from previous operations.
After completing the course of EECP, Dr. Whitaker said, “the results were absolutely miraculous.” Richard was free of chest pain, exercise tolerance was markedly improved, and, astonishingly, a PET scan revealed the growth of new blood vessels that bypassed his blocked arteries.
After witnessing this, Dr. Whitaker incorporated EECP into his practice, helping thousands of patients until his retirement in 2019.
EECP really does sound like a miracle. Let’s see what it involves.
Putting the Squeeze On
The patient lies on a treatment table with three large blood pressure-like cuffs wrapped around the calves, thighs, and buttocks. These are inflated and deflated, with the timing synchronized to an electrocardiogram. The cuffs inflate when the heart is at rest and deflate just before the next heartbeat. The constant bouts of squeezing forces blood towards the heart, boosting blood flow, and strengthening the circulation.
The procedure is typically carried out for one hour, five days a week for seven weeks in an outpatient setting. Benefits last three to five years after one course of 35 treatments.
A Natural Bypass
A review of the literature, including clinical trials, was published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics in 2021.
The authors wrote, “A growing data pool suggests that EECP is a safe, noninvasive, unique, and cost‐effective treatment strategy, providing relief of angina and improving the quality of life in the majority of patients treated.”
Their review found EECP can dilate blood vessels, increase blood volume, improve the microcirculation, decrease arterial stiffness, reduce high blood pressure, decrease heart workload, increase exercise tolerance, decrease dependency on nitroglycerine, and lower inflammation.
Perhaps the most remarkable effect, as referred to by Dr. Whitaker, is EECP’s ability to grow new blood vessels, creating new pathways in and around the heart, which is why some researchers hail this treatment as “a natural bypass.”
Although it’s an FDA-approved treatment for coronary artery disease, angina, and heart failure, it’s not usually mentioned to patients unless traditional treatment options have failed. This, unfortunately, has resulted in needless suffering and death.
No Financial Incentive to Promote It
Dr. Braverman, who practices at the Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia and is the author of Heal Your Heart with EECP, says the therapy is slow to catch on because “there is a financial disincentive to promote this non-invasive treatment.
“It’s not as lucrative as more invasive procedures, reimbursement is low…It’s a tragedy that doctors don’t even mention or offer it.”
The therapy “truly recreates the circulatory benefits of exercise. What we’re trying to do is slow, if not halt, heart disease. There’s nothing negative to say about this treatment. There are amazing clinical benefits with this technique.”
Ariel Soffer, a prominent cardiologist based in Florida, who has treated thousands of patients with EECP, agrees.
They are “some of our happiest patients,” he says. “It’s really opened our eyes to the ability of the heart to revascularize itself. It’s amazing that we don’t do it more often.” But that’s because, he adds, American doctors, “have a ‘cut it out’ mentality.”
EECP is suitable for the great majority of heart patients and is available at over 600 treatment centers across the US. To locate one near you, visit http://eecp.com/
- Heal Your Heart with EECP by Debra Braverman MD, Celestial Arts 2005