Noninvasive Alternative to Bypass Surgery

For the symptom-relieving benefits without the lengthy recovery.

No one can accuse Chester Ralston of being lazy. He’s 78 and retired from his career as a private investigator, but planning on starting another career, perhaps in security. Little can keep him down, so when he started feeling ill last year and his symptoms didn’t go away, he eventually became concerned.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

With renewed energy, Chester is back to work
landscaping his yard.

“I’ve had high blood pressure for a long time and had a couple of heart attacks a long time ago,” shares Chester. “I never had the symptoms most people experience. I never had chest pain or anything like that. When I started vomiting and sweating terribly, I didn’t think much about it at first.
“I was also having trouble walking. At the time, I couldn’t walk one hundred feet without my calves hurting so much I had to quit.”
After days of dealing with the pain, Chester finally broke down and went to a local emergency room. There, after testing and evaluation, the staff determined his symptoms were indeed related to a heart attack. The cardiologist on call then sent Chester to the cardiac catheterization lab for further evaluation of his heart.
The cardiac catheterization confirmed most of Chester’s coronary arteries, the arteries that supply the heart itself with oxygen-rich blood, were significantly blocked. The cardiologist recommended coronary bypass surgery to reroute blood flow around the blocked arteries.
“The cardiologist told me I was in big trouble,” relates Chester. “He said my arteries were closed and I needed quadruple bypass surgery. I asked him if my blood pressure would go down after surgery and if I would be able to take fewer pills. He said my blood pressure would probably not go down, and I’d likely have to take even more medication.
“Then he told me I’d be down for ten weeks after surgery, and I wouldn’t be able to drive or anything. Also, surgery would be pretty risky for me. I couldn’t deal with not being able to drive for ten weeks. That would make me feel like an infant. Besides, I’m allergic to needles and not usually welcome in hospitals because I snore a lot. I decided against surgery.”
In the meantime, Chester picked up a copy of Florida Health Care News. In it, he read an article about an alternative to surgery and wondered if it might be right for him.
The physician in the article Chester read was Brooksville-based, board-certified cardiologist and internist
L. Amarchand, MD. The procedure is a unique therapy he offers to his patients. It’s a safe, noninvasive, circulation-boosting technique called enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP).
“The article was about a guy who had a stroke and heart attack and was now lifting weights,” Chester describes. “He had this special procedure done, so I looked to see where I could get it and found the number for Dr. Amarchand. I went to talk with him, and when I asked him if I could have the procedure, he said I could.”
Dr. Amarchand uses nonsurgical 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.

Collateral Compensation

A lack of oxygenated blood flowing through the heart can cause fatigue and feelings of weakness, as well as a tightening or pressure in the chest, shortness of breath and other symptoms. As these symptoms get progressively worse, it is 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. It works like a natural bypass procedure.
“Using EECP, more than twelve million Americans have found relief from their symptoms and had their energy restored, along with other benefits,” discloses Dr. Amarchand.
A series of 35 hour-long sessions over the course of seven weeks is typically how EECP is delivered. 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,” explains Dr. Amarchand. “It helps the patient’s own circulatory system bypass coronary artery blockages and opens up the underused collateral blood vessels.”

“Now that I’ve had this procedure, I feel great. EECP has given me a new chance at life, so I’m going to take advantage of it!”– Chester

“The EECP treatments were not painful,” recalls Chester. “There were no needles. It was strictly done through the blood pressure cuffs wrapped around my calves, thighs and around my middle.
“The treatment itself was kind of comfortable. Some people fall asleep, but I was too busy watching TV. I actually enjoyed it, and each time they did a treatment, I felt better than the time before.”
For individuals who want to try a noninvasive procedure before resorting to open heart surgery, EECP is the perfect option, Dr. Amarchand reports. It is also good for those who have not achieved relief with prior surgical procedures such as bypass and angioplasty, and for patients who are not candidates for surgery.
“Eighty-five percent of patients completing EECP treatments obtain substantial and sometimes dramatic relief of their heart-related symptoms, according to studies done on the procedure,” asserts Dr. Amarchand. “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,” observes the doctor. “However, its beneficial effects can last from three to five years.”
EECP is FDA-approved and Medicare-reimbursed.

Hitting the Bricks

Although all 35 sessions are needed to achieve the full benefit of EECP therapy, Chester noticed a difference in how he felt after just a few sessions. Even better, the benefits he experienced were cumulative.
“After seven or eight times, I started feeling better,” he reports. “After twenty times, I felt great. And I kept getting better and better. After the treatments, I ran to my car. It felt like I was getting younger.
“Now, I’m doing everything. I’m like the Energizer Bunny™. I don’t get tired. I can walk a lot with no problems. I’m doing projects again and am currently landscaping my yard. I also sleep better now and feel calmer. My blood pressure is down, and I don’t take as much medication.”
Chester is very happy with the EECP procedure. He was able to avoid surgery and its lengthy recovery, yet he still got its symptom-relieving benefits.
“I highly recommend Dr. Amarchand and EECP to anyone with blocked arteries or any heart problems,” declares Chester. “It really helped me a lot.
“Now that I’ve had this procedure, I feel great,” he adds. “That’s why I’m going back to work. EECP has given me a new chance at life, so I’m going to take advantage of it!”

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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