Blood flow is everything and every disease has to do with inflammation and lack of circulation, said Sara Soulati, president and CEO of Global Cardio Care in Inglewood. She says it emphatically and with authority because she knows. A former nurse, she’s been involved with an alternative method for treating heart disease called Enhanced External Counter Pulsation therapy since 1996. And, since 2002 when she opened in Inglewood through First AME pastor emiretus Cecil “Chip” Murray and the FAME fund, she and her staff have been seeing lives saved and seeing them changed.
“We’ve really been able to reverse hypertension,” Soulati told the Sentinel and the L.A. Watts Times during a recent interview.
“We’ve been able to see people who were truly diabetic, taking insulin, on oral medication who are no longer diabetic. Most of the time when you go to the doctor and you’re diagnosed with something, it’s very rare that will change. If you become hypertensive, you become hypertensive for life. If you get diabetic, you are diabetic for life.
“But we’ve been able to see patients who have been sick for many years, getting off the medication.
So, it’s really exciting to see that the work we’re doing here, is really reversing the problems. And that’s what we’re here to focus on…”
EECP is a safe, simple non-invasive, outpatient therapy option for patients suffering from ischemic heart diseases such as angina and heart failure, according to the GCC website.
It improves the flow of healthy, oxygenated blood to the heart by opening or forming small blood vessels called collaterals which create natural bypasses around blocked arteries.
During the one hour therapy a set of inflatable cuffs (similar to blood pressure cuffs) mechanically compress the blood vessels in the patient’s lower limbs. This increases the blood flow and oxygen back to the heart, reducing the work that the heart has to do. It also improves circulation and strengthens the cardiopulmonary system.
“When you lay down on the bed, these blood pressure cuffs start to squeeze through the artery system,” Soulati explained.
“Everything is inside those artery walls, the endorphins, the gasses, the hormones… are all locked up into the artery wall. EECP pushes these gasses and hormones to come out.
Nitrous oxide is one of the gasses released, causing the arteries to open.
“When you combine EECP with the health program it is the most powerful weapon against disease,” she said.
Spencer Collins and some of Soulati’s other patients can attest.
Collins had been misdiagnosed for a year. A patient going into heart failure, Collins was repeatedly told by doctors that nothing was wrong with him. When one doctor finally discovered he his heart was only functioning at 22 percent, his whole mission was to find out how he could get better.
A friend saw him and recommended him to GCC.
“I instantly felt the difference after the first treatment,” Collins said.
“It was just a relief. By treatment number 25, I could breathe again. By treatment number 35 my heart was working at 58 percent (normal is 50 percent or higher). [The program] brought me back to life.”
Edith Padilla, was on the treatment for a week before her blood pressure was lowered from about 180/90 to about 120/80. She has lost inches on the program, and headaches have improved.
“I encourage all Latinos who have heart problems and diabetes should come,” she said.
Said Alice Campbell, a diabetic, severe pain from inflammation is what brought her to the program.
“When you get sick and you don’t have insurance, you just kind of tough things out,” Campbell recalled.
Soulati was at her church giving a presentation on the program one Sunday. Her daughter signed her up and she has been with them for almost 2 years.
“I don’t have the same type of pain,” she said.
“I know it’s part of the work I do and the program.”
“My heart was not doing very well at all,” added Lee Howard who suffered from multiple heart attacks.
“I’m physically and emotionally well. I’m not afraid everyday because I know my heart is being taken care of now.”
“It’s really great to see people getting their hope back,” said Soulati who estimated each treatment at about $125.00 for one hour, but added that she has never turned down a patient regardless of his/her ability to pay.
“[Giving people] their heart back… it’s a labor of service. It’s a labor of love.”