Breathing Easier

Nonsurgical heart ‘bypass’ relieves angina pain, boosts energy.

It’s been almost 26 years since Myriam Reyes Galarza left her native Puerto Rico and relocated to Florida. Her move was motivated by her need to nurture a loved one who was already residing here.

EECP treatments have given Myriam
the energy to perform her activities –
and complete them.

“My daughter was having a baby, and I thought, No one is going to take care of her like me,” Myriam, 64, remembers. “I came to Brooksville to care for her and her baby, and I’ve lived here ever since.”

Myriam could quickly pack up and reroute her life to Florida in part because she was no longer working. Carpal tunnel syndrome, for which she underwent surgery in 1991, forced Myriam to give up her job at a jewelry store in Puerto Rico.

“I used to be a secretary for Gordon’s Jewelers,” she confirms. “I did accounts receivable, which involved a little bit of everything, including all the inventory and dues. We’re talking about the 1980s, so we didn’t have computers or even an electric typewriter.

“I did all the work by hand using a manual typewriter. “I did that for six years for Gordon’s, but I had to stop working after I developed carpal tunnel. I have the condition in both hands and arthritis as well.”

Carpal tunnel and arthritis aren’t the only health issues that affected Myriam’s everyday life. She was also born with a heart murmur that has caused symptoms, such as angina, shortness of breath, chest tightness and loss of energy.

About 14 years ago, Myriam’s heart problems resulted in a visit to a specialist who performed an angioplasty and placed two stents. That resolved the angina, but in the years since, a tiny artery behind one of the stents became clogged.

“It’s not big enough to operate on, but it caused me to easily become short of breath,” Myriam reports. “My chest was also very tight, especially at night. So five years ago, Dr. Amarchand recommended that I do EECP, which went very well.”

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

Enhanced External Counterpulsation Process

Dr. Amarchand uses EECP to treat patients with heart conditions 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.

“Recently, I lost my energy and became very tired,” Myriam shares. “I didn’t really have angina pain. It was more like my chest was really tired. I like to do housekeeping, work in the garden and sew, but I felt too tired to finish what I started. Dr. Amarchand recommended that I do EECP again.”

Collateral Enhancement

The source of Myriam’s problems was a lack of oxygenated blood flowing through her heart, the doctor says. That situation can cause symptoms such as a loss of energy, shortness of breath, a tightening or pressure in the chest, and weakness.

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

“More than 12 million Americans have found relief from their symptoms, had their energy restored and received other benefits through the use of EECP.”

EECP is delivered through a series of 35 sessions over seven weeks. During each one-hour session, the patient reclines 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 heartbeat.

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

“The treatment is not painful,” Myriam recalls, “and you lose weight. I lost 6 pounds.”

EECP is the perfect option for individuals who want to try a noninvasive procedure before resorting to open-heart surgery, Dr. Amarchand notes.

“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,” he says.

“According to studies done on the procedure, 85 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.”

Dr. Amarchand stresses that EECP’s beneficial effects can last three to five years. However, because it is noninvasive, the protocol can be repeated as often as needed. EECP is FDA-approved and Medicare-reimbursed.

“Life-Changing for Me”

To achieve the best results, patients must complete all 35 treatment sessions, although some symptom relief can be felt after a few sessions. That was true in Myriam’s case.

“EECP was life-changing for me!” she raves. “By the second or third treatment, the tiredness in my chest was gone. Now, my blood pressure is normal and I feel energetic. I now have the energy to perform my activities, and when I start something, I’m able to finish it. That makes me happy.”

Myriam describes Dr. Amarchand as “an excellent doctor” and lauds him for his knowledge and patience.

“He definitely knows what he’s doing,” she reports. “If he needs to explain something to me, he takes time doing it. On top of that, his office is extremely organized, and he has very friendly people working for him. It’s so nice when I walk in the front door and they know me by name.

“And Dr. Amarchand has the best technology. He has better equipment than the hospital. I hated getting stress tests at the hospital because I always got a bad sensation, like I was choking. But when Dr. Amarchand does the test in his office, it’s completely different. I hardly feel anything. I absolutely recommend 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