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A.A Non-Surgical Treatment for Angina

Narrator: This is Science Today. A new, non-surgical treatment may provide relief for patients with angina, a coronary heart disease marked by crushing chest pain and shortness of breath. Dr. Tony Chou, a cardiologist at the University of California, San Francisco says the new treatment, called Enhanced External Counterpulsation, helps the heart get enough oxygen.

Chou: It basically changes the way your pulse wave form looks. Instead of having the pulse beating along, you have a pulse and then a second pulse and the second pulse is the time period where the heart is actually getting it's own blood supply.

Narrator: This is done by wrapping Velcro cuffs around the patient's legs, thighs and buttocks to increase blood pressure.

Chou: It looks like a big, giant blood pressure machine for the legs.

Narrator: The hope is this procedure, administered an hour a day for seven weeks, will condition the heart and foster the growth of small blood vessels called collatoral branches.

Chou: If collatorals could form sort of automatically when you had a blockage, your body would constantly be performing a bypass on itself.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.