Answered Prayer

“Natural bypass” alleviates musician’s angina, loss of energy.

Photos by Jordan Pysz.

Wesley noticed improvement after two EECP treatments

Wesley Gleason, Jr. grew up seven miles from the St. Lawrence River in northern New York State. Following retirement, Wesley and his wife began visiting Florida to escape the cold, snowy winter months in New York. Florida was the perfect spot for the couple because many family members resided here, including their two daughters and their families.

Before he retired, Wesley held various positions in and around his hometown of Redwood, New York. When he began his career, Wesley worked in very physical professions, but a job-related injury forced him to switch gears.

“I was a welder and farm mechanic, but I hurt my back and had to change careers,” Wesley shares. “Working in computers was a good choice because it’s interesting. At first, I did programming, then I set up and maintained computers, printers and other equipment. The work was always challenging, with something new to do every day.

“I worked as a computer technician at one of the local schools for fourteen and a half years, then finished my career as a computer tech for Jefferson County, New York. I retired fourteen years ago.”

That’s when Wesley and his wife began spending their winters in Florida. Wintering in Florida gives Wesley more time to pursue his favorite activities, which include playing guitar and golfing. But last year, he couldn’t participate in those activities due to some troublesome, heart-related symptoms.

“I have heart disease, and its symptoms got to a point that I was having many problems,” Wesley confirms. “I was short of breath and had no energy. I was good for about two hours in the morning, and then I was done for the day. I took nitroglycerine pills constantly because I had wicked pains in my chest and arms.

“Between the pain and lack of energy, I couldn’t golf. My wife and I are musicians, and we play at churches and special events. I play guitar, my wife sings and I back her up. But we couldn’t perform at all last year. I would just get too tired, so we had to turn down several gigs.

“My cardiologist, Dr. Amarchand, ordered an echocardiogram, but he didn’t like the look of it, so he ordered a stress test. That showed something was wrong, so he performed a heart catheterization. Dr. Amarchand found four blockages in an artery on the right side of my heart. He couldn’t stent those blockages, but he said he had another treatment that could help me.”

L. Amarchand, MD, is a board-certified cardiologist and internist in Brooksville, where he offers patients a unique treatment protocol and surgical alternative for relieving symptoms such as Wesley’s. It’s a safe, noninvasive, circulation-boosting technique called enhanced external counterpulsation, or EECP.

Dr. Amarchand uses EECP to treat patients with heart disorders such as congestive heart failure, blocked coronary arteries and angina pain. Using EECP, Dr. Amarchand has an impressive record of success in maintaining his cardiac patients’ heart health and independence.

“When my wife and I first met Dr. Amarchand back in 2011, we really liked him,” Wesley recalls. “He was very knowledgeable and very good at explaining things to us. Then last year, when we talked about EECP, he said it would likely help me, so I agreed to have the treatment.”

Timed Rhythms

Dr. Amarchand knew the source of Wesley’s problems. He had a lack of oxygenated blood flowing through his heart. That can cause symptoms such as a loss of energy, shortness of breath, a tightening or pressure in the chest and weakness.

“It’s not unusual for people to restrict their activities as these symptoms get progressively worse in order to reduce their discomfort,” Dr. Amarchand notes. “As a result, their quality of life quickly diminishes. EECP can reverse these symptoms by working like a natural bypass procedure.

“Through the use of EECP, more than twelve million Americans have found relief from their symptoms, had their energy restored and received other benefits.”

EECP is delivered through a series of 35 hour-long sessions over the course of seven weeks. During an EECP session, the patient reclines, fully clothed, on a cushioned table while listening to music or watching a movie.

Compression cuffs are wrapped around the patient’s calves, thighs and buttocks to apply pressure in rhythms carefully timed to the patient’s heartbeat.

“The pressure propels more blood upward and into the coronary arteries, enlarging the arteries and improving collateral circulation,” Dr. Amarchand describes. “It helps the patient’s own circulatory system bypass coronary artery blockages and opens up the underused collateral blood vessels.”

“The treatment’s not painful at all,” Wesley stresses. “At first, I thought it was long and boring, then the good Lord said to me, You’re going to be there for an hour. Why waste it? So I started praying while I was lying there, but by the third week, I ended up falling asleep halfway through the treatment sessions.”

EECP is the perfect option for individuals who want to try a noninvasive procedure before resorting to open heart surgery, Dr. Amarchand observes. “It’s also good for those who have not achieved relief with prior surgical procedures such as bypass and angioplasty, and for patients who aren’t candidates for surgery.

“According to studies done on the procedure, eighty-five percent of patients completing EECP treatments obtain substantial and sometimes dramatic relief from their heart-related symptoms,” Dr. Amarchand reports. “The same percentage realizes increased exercise tolerance, mental alertness and reduced need for nitroglycerin to relieve angina pain.”

Because it’s noninvasive, EECP can be repeated as often as needed, Dr. Amarchand says of the treatment that is both FDA-approved and Medicare-reimbursed. However, the doctor emphasizes, its beneficial effects can last from three to five years.

Measure of Relief

For the best results, patients must complete all 35 EECP treatment sessions, but often, patients begin to experience a measure of symptom relief much sooner. That was true in Wesley’s case as well.

“After my second treatment, my wife and daughter noticed a big difference in me,” Wesley states. “I noticed it as well. I wasn’t having the pain like I did, and I could breathe better. And the results just got better and better as the treatments continued.

“Now, I feel very good. I still get a little tired now and then, but I’m much better than I was. I don’t have any pain, and I don’t get short of breath. I’ve been riding a stationary bike almost every day. I rode three miles this morning. On days I don’t ride the bike, I walk.”

Wesley reports that Dr. Amarchand’s EECP worked extremely well for him. He’s returned to golfing and playing guitar, and he’s looking forward to performing again.

“Hopefully, we’ll start doing music for the churches and special events again soon,” he says. “We enjoy playing at the First United Methodist Church in Inverness. They have a luncheon on Mondays for anyone who wants to come, and we usually play for that.

“I’m able to do it because my energy has returned, thanks to Dr. Amarchand and his EECP!”

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    • L. Amarchand, MD, FACP

      L. Amarchand, MD, FACP, is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He completed a residency in internal medicine and a two-year fellowship in cardiology and cardiac nuclear imaging at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingsto... Read More

    • L. Amarchand, MD, FACP

      L. Amarchand, MD, FACP, is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He completed a residency in internal medicine and a two-year fellowship in cardiology and cardiac nuclear imaging at St. Barnabas Medical Center, Li... Read More

    • Tong Guo

      Dr. Tong Guo, a pioneer in obtaining FDA approval of EECP for use in the United States, assists Dr. Amarchand in overseeing EECP, ensuring the delivery of optimal treatment with excellent outcomes for patients. Dr. Guo worked as a researc... Read More