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.