Circulation Booster

Natural, noninvasive bypass procedure improves blood flow.

John Shepherd held many jobs over the course of his career. Among them, he served as a warehouse supervisor and a courier for a law firm. He also worked in a sheet metal shop. Mostly, John was an entertainer, singing and playing guitar for audiences in several states. Nothing stopped this showman, not even a serious heart condition.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

John Shepherd

“I’ve had coronary artery disease for many years,” says the Brooklyn, New York native who lived much of his adult life in Oklahoma. “I had a heart attack in 1989 and bypass surgery in 1994.
“Bypass surgery was done after I started feeling pain in my left arm while walking on a treadmill. I went to my cardiologist in Oklahoma, who performed a cardiac catheterization and found one artery was ninety-five percent blocked and another was ninety percent blocked.”
Due to his history of heart problems, John immediately looked for a cardiologist upon moving to Florida after retiring in 2011. Through his insurance, he discovered L. Amarchand, MD, a board-certified cardiologist and internist in Brooksville.
Dr. Amarchand performed another cardiac catheterization when John began experiencing symptoms again earlier this year.
“I was feeling a little discomfort in my left arm,” John recalls. “I also felt tired and lethargic and had no energy. I had to back down on my activities around the house. Often, I would just sit in my chair and fall asleep.
“Dr. Amarchand said my problem was angina, which can show itself in many different ways. When he did the cardiac catheterization, he found a little blockage in an area of my heart where he can’t put a stent to open up the artery. He recommended a nonsurgical procedure that can move blood around the blockage.”
The unique treatment protocol and surgical alternative that Dr. Amarchand offers his patients is 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.

King Kong Returns

Dr. Amarchand explains that symptoms such as a loss of energy, which John experienced, as well as shortness of breath, a tightening or pressure in the chest and weakness can all be caused by a lack of oxygenated blood flowing through the heart.
As these symptoms get progressively worse, it’s not unusual for people to restrict their activities in order to reduce their discomfort. 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 and had their energy restored while also receiving other benefits,” Dr. Amarchand asserts.
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 expounds. “It helps the patient’s own circulatory system bypass coronary artery blockages and opens up the underused collateral blood vessels.”
“The treatment wasn’t painful at all,” John assures. “It felt like King Kong grabbed me and was hugging and holding me. Then he stopped, then he hugged me again, then stopped and so on. It was that kind of feeling, from my legs up to my groin area, then to my abdomen.”
For individuals who want to try a noninvasive procedure before resorting to open heart surgery, EECP is the perfect option, Dr. Amarchand suggests. 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.

“EECP really got my blood pumping. It widened my arteries and improved blood flow to my heart. I’m in good shape now.” – John

“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 observes. “The same percentage realizes increased exercise tolerance, mental alertness and reduced need for nitroglycerin to relieve angina pain.
“EECP can be repeated as often as needed because it is noninvasive,” the doctor says of the treatment that is both FDA-approved and Medicare-reimbursed. “However, its beneficial effects can last from three to five years.”

Above and Beyond

A complete course of EECP therapy is 35 treatment sessions, and all are needed to achieve the full benefit of the therapy. Still, John began feeling the effects of the circulation boost long before he reached the end of his sessions.
“I started to feel a difference after about ten sessions,” John reports. “I was gaining more energy. Even my wife noticed. She said, You’re more active, where before you just sat in the chair and slept. I wasn’t doing that as much.”
John wasn’t feeling the nagging discomfort in his left arm either. During the course of John’s EECP sessions, Dr. Tong Guo, who oversees the treatment, told John he believed the pain had an innocuous origin.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

“I’m glad I did EECP because my energy level is up now, and I feel good.” – John

“I assumed the pain in my arm was caused by my blocked artery, but it turns out it really wasn’t from the angina after all,” John relates. “Dr. Guo said he didn’t think the pain came from my heart. He thought something was going on with my arm. Whatever caused it, the pain is gone now, and I’m feeling fine.
“Since I finished EECP, I’m moving more and doing a lot of work around the house. I’m painting the wood trim right now and taking on other tasks as they come up. I’m still in the music business. I play in the praise band at my church, so I’m busy all the time.”
Dr. Amarchand has been John’s cardiologist for eight years, and John thinks quite highly of him. John says the physician is extremely knowledgeable and has provided exceptional patient care above and beyond.
“He’s even helped me with non-cardiac medical issues,” John explains. “Once, I had an appointment and had a really bad chest cold. Dr. Amarchand listened to my lungs and said, Holy mackerel, you’ve got a problem. Then he wrote a prescription for me for antibiotics.
Dr. Guo was also very attentive and concerned when he did my EECP sessions.
“I’m glad I did EECP because my energy level is up now, and I feel good. I’ll do it again if I need to, no doubt in my mind. I recommend EECP and
Dr. Amarchand without hesitation. EECP really got my blood pumping. It widened my arteries and improved blood flow to my heart. I’m in good shape now.”

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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