Female Speaker: Today I’m talking to Lionel. Lionel received our external counterpulsation therapy here at The Prather Wellness Center—ECP, and we’ll refer to it as the ECP. But, Lionel, what brought you in initially to The Prather Wellness Center?
Lionel: It’s a bit of a long story, because of my heart history. I have had a lot of heart problems over the years: a heart attack at age 53 and now at age 72 and a half my bypasses started to quit and I was having difficulties. Last year, I had several operations, as far as adding stints and angioplasties, but still the angina would not stop. My internist recommended a procedure called EECP, which I had never heard of. So I went immediately, of course, and contacted my cardiologist, who said that’s a very good process. You should do it and they do it right here in Indianapolis. Where he referred me to no longer did it so I went online and researched and found the Prather clinic, which is the only facility or service of ECP that I found in the Indianapolis area; the other ones are out of town by an hour or more. So I made a phone call to your clinic to get some information, contacted my cardiologist and he sent in the proper paperwork for me to start the procedure.
Female Speaker: Great. Yeah, we are the only ECP unit here in Indianapolis and we are getting cardiologist referrals, which is nice. Now what you said is your bypasses were quitting. At this point were you a non-operative heart patient? They couldn’t do any more for you?
Lionel: We’re getting close to that. Maybe one more time. But right now we are waiting to see. Quite frankly, I got tired of being in the hospital so much so I needed to do something else. ECP sounded very good and, again, my personal physician is very high on this. In fact, he does it at his clinic in the Chicago area. Also, I would like to put a recommendation in that people should pay attention to natural health as much as they can, which would be your naturopathic doctor, your integrated doctor, doctors like Dr. Prather and his integrated clinic with all that he offers. These things that I did had my bypasses last a little over twice as long as a normal bypass because I was not doing strictly normal health measures, I was doing naturopathic health.
Female Speaker: So you called and made an appointment. Let’s talk about where it went from there and the treatment.
Lionel: I came in for an evaluation with Jackie. It’s a four-point test. Then I was scheduled for treatment, which is 7 weeks, 5 days a week for one hour and we started the procedure from there. The procedure started well. I did experience angina pain during the treatment. Jackie was very, very persistent in trying to find the correct procedure. She even contacted the factory rep and they determined that for my particular case—which was not normal—that I should have a counterpulsation every other heartbeat instead of every heartbeat and only up to a certain pressure level. Once we figured that out, the treatment really started to go well and I started getting better and better as the time went on.
Female Speaker: That’s right. And you talked about it is a seven week program, 5 days a week for an hour, so it is a commitment, and Jackie worked with you on the treatment specifically, which was very helpful to you. Let’s talk about the results of that treatment. I know you just finished up not too long ago and we reevaluate. Let’s talk about that.
Lionel: The week after treatment was over was the best week I’ve had in about 13 months. My numbers on the exit exam, which is the same test we took before the procedure—we take the same test before and after—all the numbers were positive and up. In fact, Dr. Prather was delighted. He told me I was much more improved than he had expected because of the condition of my heart. My heart was in bad shape—is in bad shape. I had much less angina recurrence now than I had before and what I do have is very well controlled compared to the intense pain I had prior to the procedure. The good thing about it is, not only does Medicare cover it—being retired military I have Medicare and Tricare—but you can go back and do this again under the Medicare system, which is really good. Right now we are talking with my doctors about how soon I want to go back again and do the finishing touches, so-to-speak.
Female Speaker: One thing about the ECP, or external counterpulsation therapy, is that it is cumulative. So where you are now, there is a cumulative effect after it stops and you will continue to see changes. So, if there is someone out there listening who has the same issues or has heart issues, what would you say to them?
Lionel: I’d say, number one, that this is all non-invasive, it is all external. You don’t go under a knife, you don’t get operated on, it is all external and very, very safe. Everything I have read about it and been told about it by all of my doctors is that there has been no negative effect by EECP. It has always been positive and highly recommended by the people who are doing it. My cardiologist is, in my opinion, probably one of the best if not the absolute premier heart doctor in the Indianapolis area—this man is fantastic, Michael Robertson at Cardiac North—he was enthusiastic about it. By the way, he is delighted to know your clinic is here because you are the only one available right now. His enthusiasm really helped me understand that this was a very good thing to do and I recommend people try it. Number one, it is a lot less intrusive on your lifestyle, except you have to be here five days a week for seven weeks. It’s only an hour. The staff is fantastic, there is no invasion, you’re not hospitalized, it is much less expensive and most insurances, including Medicare, cover it.
Female Speaker: I know our exercise physiologist, Mark, worked with you too on a cardiac rehab program. You want to talk a little bit about that?
Lionel: I sure will. What I like is the flexibility of the program. Mark interviews you and finds out what your lifestyle is like, and how you plan on doing your cardiac rehab. Then he tailors the program to you, rather than insisting that you do it a certain way. He knows I like to be outdoors, he knows I don’t like the confinement of a regular gym so he has got me on a tailored program for me to exercise at home and outside which has a lot of walking, which I am always doing, and physical exercise to build up the muscles and skeletal strength. It is really a very good way to do it. I have been to other cardiac rehabs before—like after my heart attack many years ago—and they had a specific program where there was no deviation. This one was tailored to the patient rather than the patient to the program.
Female Speaker: Well, thank you, Lionel. Your story is going to be an inspiration for a lot of people. Thank you for sharing your story about the external counterpulsation program, or ECP.