External Counter Pulsation (ECP) therapy is a non-invasive procedure that helps stimulate the growth of new blood vessels in the heart and, in some cases, improves the flow of existing blood vessels. ECP is usually used when physicians have exhausted other therapies. The Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) in Tamil Nadu's Vellore town has opened a new ECP center at the institution to promote non-surgical procedures for heart ailments.
The ECP center was inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Health Minister C. Vijaya Baskar, and is the second such center after the recently opened Madras Medical College. R. Vimala, dean, Christian Medical College and Hospital, said, "The ECP has been introduced at a cost of Rs. 2 crore under a public private partnership and will cater to the patients for free. The treatment usually costs Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 1 lakh at private hospitals."
S.S. Sibia, a leading ECP expert and director of Sibia Medical Center, said, "This is the only non-invasive, no-drug treatment effective for patients suffering from heart failure, chest pain, shortness of breath, tiredness, those who have undergone angioplasty, those afraid of bypass surgeries or are at risk for surgeries."
The hospital authorities said, "The ECP treatment provided at the center is covered under the Chief Minister's Comprehensive Medical Insurance Scheme and the revenue generated from the treatment will also help finance the hospital's development."