EECP® versus ECP Therapy has been an ongoing discussion and topic of debate put forth by some in the industry. Despite what some may say, External Counterpulsation Therapy (ECP Therapy) is the official term used to describe the modality of External Counterpulsation Therapy. Although EECP is also a common term, EECP is just a trademarked term used by Vasomedical (1 of several companies) to differentiate their version of ECP therapy from others in the industry.
EECP® is the trademarked acronym used by Vasomedical Inc to describe “Enhanced” External Counterpulsation Therapy”. The use of a trademark is common strategy in a emerging market for purposes of distinguishing a particular brand or product from others in the market place. Further, trademarking will often discourage others from entering the specific market due to market competition and confusion.
In the case of the External Counterpulsation industry, Vasomedical employed this exact strategy when they coined the term “Enhanced” External Counterpulsation therapy or “EECP®” to distinguish their brand as well as minimize the competition in the industry. Although some still intentionally mislead the truth about the trademark strategy, the two terms “EECP” and “ECP” are really ‘one and the same’ when referring to the concept & function of External Counterpulsation Therapy.
In the U.S., you can refer to the National Coverage Determination (NCD) for ECP Therapy on the U.S. government website (U.S Department of Health & Human Services ) to see that they reference External Counterpulsation Therapy as “ECP Therapy” and not “EECP Therapy”. You may also view the CMS language explaining the process of how Medicare changed the official name from EECP to ECP Therapy (reference page 3).
Is there any Functional difference between EECP and ECP Therapy?
Some still promote the ideal that EECP and ECP Therapy are two different treatments. This is blatantly false. “EECP” is “Enhanced” by name only (trademark) and yet still argue that “EECP” devices are the ONLY units on the market that function in the same format as the trademarked ‘EECP’ devices. By ‘function’ they are referring to method of pneumatic inflation of (air) cuffs in a sequential order (calf, thigh, buttocks). The governing regulatory institution in the U.S. (FDA) would not grant FDA market clearance on any device unless if met the safety and performance standards put forth by other devices that utilize that same sequential pneumatic inflation methodology
EECP is often the common term to describe the procedure of External Counterpulsation Therapy because the trademark holder (Vasomedical or members within) published a large percentage (>90%) of the published clinical literature that is in circulation used to demonstrate the clinical efficacy of External Counterpulsation Therapy. With that being said, it is common that some will reference ‘EECP’ to describe the treatment of External Counterpulsation Therapy and not for identifying a brand or a trademark holder.
Despite the misleading rumors in the industry, it is very important to point out that Vasomedical (“EECP”) was indeed the pioneer of External Counterpulsation Therapy (EECP Therapy) worldwide. Vasomedical is the company that deserves all of the credit for paving the way for External Counterpulsation Therapy as we know it today. Vasomedical is responsible for making ECP and EECP™ Therapy a viable treatment option for patients with Angina, Congestive Heart Failure and other medical conditions.
Is EECP more effective than ECP Therapy?
There is some speculation that because Vasomedical sponsored more clinical studies that their equipment is more effective than other ECP systems in the market. The short answer to that is “NO” because the patient outcomes are more based on the physiology of each patient and how efficiently the treatment is administered to each patient than the actual model device treating the patient. The real factors are the amount of pressure delivered to each patient and the inflation and deflation timing delivered to the patient over the 35 hours treatment session. These variables are far more significant to patient outcomes than what model system is used.
Nobody can dispute the fact that there is a direct correlation between pressure delivered, and blood flow. With that being said, it doesn’t matter what device is used, no patient will benefit unless pressure (squeeze) is delivered to increase (or augment) the diastolic blood flow over the treatment period. Some ECP companies actually argue that their ‘ECP’ technology is more efficient that ‘EECP’ because their user-interface provides empirical data (minute by minute) that more helpful to the technician for optimizing treatment variables such as pressure & inflation / deflation timing.