The Natural Coronary Bypass

The benefits of surgery without scalpels or scars

Following his retirement after more than 15 years in the United States Air Force, Emory Sullivan didn’t stop working.

Dr. L. Amarchand of Brooksville treated Emory Sullivan with EECP therapy, relieving his fatigue and loss of balance.

Emory has enough balance now to walk to his mailbox.

After the Air Force, Emory went on to jobs in the petroleum and crude oil business, with the US Postal Service, for the state of Florida and then in the county sheriff’s office before finally calling it quits. After retirement, the Clearwater native remained active. However, over time, his body stopped cooperating.

“I was going to the gym three times a week,” he remembers, “but I started getting tired all the time. My legs began to swell due to water retention, and I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

“I also began having trouble with my balance. I could not walk straight. I tended to veer to the left, and I needed to use a walker to get around.”

It was tough for Emory to have to slow down. Unfortunately, his condition continued to deteriorate. Eventually, he suffered a heart attack and a stroke, which sent him to the hospital for treatment.

“I recognized the stroke right away,” he shares. “I couldn’t lift my right arm. I had to go to Gainesville to have a carotid artery stent put in. At the time, I didn’t realize I’d also had a heart attack.”

When Emory returned to the local hospital, he became frustrated with the heart care he was receiving from his doctor. He found out about a Brooksville-based, board-certified cardiologist and internist who also worked at that hospital. It was L. Amarchand, MD.

“I was in the hospital being treated by another doctor, but I was not happy with his treatment,” confirms Emory. “So, I switched doctors. I chose Dr. Amarchand.”

With his heart function severely compromised, Emory was interested in all his treatment options. Dr. Amarchand told Emory about a unique therapy he offers to his patients. It’s a safe, noninvasive, circulation-boosting technique called enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP).

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.

“Dr. Amarchand started treating me by changing my medication,” relates Emory. “After a few months, he asked me if I’d like to try the EECP. I said, Yes.”

Timed Rhythms

The fatigue and feelings of weakness Emory felt, as well as a tightening or pressure in the chest, shortness of breath and other symptoms, can all be caused by a lack of oxygenated blood flowing through the heart. 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.

“More than twelve million Americans have found relief from their symptoms and had their energy restored, along with other benefits, using EECP,” points out
Dr. Amarchand.

EECP is typically accomplished in 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,” informs Dr. Amarchand. “It helps the patient’s own circulatory system bypass coronary artery blockages and opens up the underused collateral blood vessels.”

“At first, the EECP treatment felt very unusual,” describes Emory. “I lay there and they put the compression fittings on my legs, then the machine vibrates. However, once I got used to it, it was fine.”

EECP is the perfect option for individuals who want to try a noninvasive procedure before resorting to open-heart surgery. 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,” cites Dr. Amarchand. “The same percentage realizes increased exercise tolerance, mental alertness and reduced need for nitroglycerin to relieve angina pain.

“Because it is noninvasive, EECP can be repeated as often as needed,” emphasizes the doctor. “However, its beneficial effects can last from three to five years.

“EECP is also FDA-approved and Medicare-reimbursed.”

Care and Service

Like many patients undergoing EECP, Emory started to feel the results after just a few sessions. Patients need to complete all 35 sessions, however, to achieve the therapy’s full benefit.

“I felt much more energy once I started the treatment,” reports Emory. “I started feeling it after about two weeks.”

Unfortunately, Emory had a slight setback when he was recently diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, and had a cardiac pacemaker implanted in his chest. That meant more time in the hospital, where he lost some of his newfound strength and energy.

“I was in the hospital for three weeks. I was rather weak when I got out, but I’m getting better,” he states.

Despite the setback, Emory has gained substantial benefits from the EECP. Since the treatment, his balance and walking have improved significantly. He expects to get back to his activities very soon as well.

“My walking is not perfect, but it’s much better now,” he offers. “I used to need to use a walker; now, I’m only using a cane. Next week, I anticipate going back to the gym, where I do resistance training.”

Now that he’s a patient of Dr. Amarchand, Emory is more than satisfied with his treatment. He is grateful to the doctor and his staff for their exceptional patient care and customer service. He credits Dr. Amarchand with saving his life.

“The staff in Dr. Amarchand’s office is very good,” he says. “Whenever I call, I talk to the nurse immediately, or if I have a question, she returns my call within a reasonable time.

“Dr. Amarchand is great. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think I’d be here now!”

FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photo by Jordan Pysz. mkb
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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