Medical Minute 1-6:

By: Andrew McIntosh Email
By: Andrew McIntosh Email

Connie crews has a very important job. She's a full time mom to dogs Casey and Marty. But while working her part time job as a nurse she realized something wasn't right with her heart.

"I noticed what I thought was heart burn. With the burning."

It was microvascular angina, or MVA. An early form of coronary heart disease that occurs when arteries narrow and the heart doesn't get enough oxygen rich blood. Cardiologist Doctor Ken Kronhaus says people with it have few options.

"The vessels are too tiny to put a stent in, the medications work much less than half the time," said Kenneth D. Kronhaus, M.D., Medical Director & Cardiologist.

To treat it, he's using a non-invasive treatment for heart patients recently cleared by the FDA. Enhanced external counterpulsation or EECP.

"It milks the blood in the arteries and veins in the legs and increases the blood flow to the heart."

For seven weeks, patients lie on this bed for 35 one hour sessions. Blood pressure cuffs inflated with air are wrapped around each leg. They contract and expand with each heart beat helping develop better circulation.

"Without any needles, cutting or added medication."

According to the Mayo Clinic, it's been proven to work in 75 to 80 percent of patients with angina symptoms.

Doctor Kronhaus says the therapy could one day replace life-long heart drugs.

"I continue to feel better, to have more stamina and just have a better sense of well-being."


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