Thursday, January 24, 2013

Does Open-Heart Surgery Really Work?

Having trouble walking up stairs and experiencing tightness in your chest? If the arteries around your heart are clogged, your doctor will try to remove the blockage by performing an angioplasty. If that doesn’t help, the only remaining option is open-heart ­surgery.

But does open-heart ­surgery really work? ­

According to Nortin Hadler, a University of North Carolina ­professor and the author of The Last Well Person, the procedure doesn’t prolong life or prevent heart attacks except in a minority of ­patients with severely blocked arteries.

What’s more, there’s a risk the ­patient won’t survive the operation (between 1 and 2 percent don’t) and patients ­undergoing the operation also have a 40% chance of suffering side effects.

Los Angeles cardiologist Fouad Ghaly uses an ­alternative treatment: Enhanced External Counterpulsation Therapy (EECP).  The patient undergoes daily one- to two-hour treatments for four to seven weeks at a cost of $5,000 to $6,000. In patients who have had the treatment, Ghaly found that overall physical condition and oxygen uptake increase, the heart pumps harder, and the condition of blood vessels improves.  Read the entire article.

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