Useless Medicine: Bypass Surgery
Don’t be scared into this invasive heart procedure
Bypass surgery involves grafting a vein, usually harvested from the leg, around a blocked coronary artery in an effort to restore blood flow. But, coronary artery bypass surgery is not and has never been the panacea that surgeons claim it is.
In fact, research has shown that bypass surgery does not prevent heart attacks or save lives in close to 90 percent of people who receive it.
Studies Show No Real Benefit From Bypass Surgery
In 1977, the first controlled clinical trial comparing bypass surgery to conservative medical therapy was published. After five years of follow-up, the patients who had undergone bypass fared no better than those who had been treated conservatively. The annualized death rate in both groups was only 3 percent per year.
This should have put an end to bypass, but it didn’t. Five years later, an even more damning study was published. The Coronary Artery Surgery Study (CASS) involved 780 patients, half who had bypass surgery and half who received drug therapy.
This definitive clinical trial was expected to confirm that patients with serious heart disease would benefit from bypass surgery. Instead, bypass was a bust. Rates of heart attack and death from heart disease were no lower in patients who had bypass surgery than they were in a similar group treated without surgery.
The death rate in the patients who didn’t have bypass was a surprisingly low 1.6 percent per year. The chance that any surgery will improve upon a death rate this low is virtually nil. It boils down to one indisputable fact: You cannot save the life of someone who is not going to die.
These Studies Are Still Relevant Today
I know you might be suspicious of studies published so long ago. Yes, surgical techniques have improved and surgery-related death rates have dropped.
But that’s beside the point. Heart disease and the patients who suffer with it have not changed during that time any more than the Earth has gotten flat since it was discovered to be round.
Patients with serious heart disease who are treated without surgical intervention have an annual death rate under 2 percent. It’s hard to improve upon a survival rate this high (over 98 percent per year).
Yet today, bypass, angioplasty, and other “lifesaving” heart procedures continue to be foisted upon more and more folks who don’t need them.
Keep These Points in Mind
If you are faced with a recommendation for bypass surgery, you need to remember three things:
- According to the medical literature, the overwhelming majority of people in your situation will not receive any benefit from bypass surgery. Stand firm and, unless there are extenuating circumstances like a significant blockage in the left main coronary artery, just say no.
- Despite the doom-and-gloom warnings, you do have options. As the scientific literature illustrates, in most cases, any other treatment approach would be preferable. You may elect to simply stick with a drug regimen. Or you may explore other therapies like hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) and enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP).
- Whatever your decision, you should make lifestyle changes and begin a supplement program.
No matter what: You need to think this invasive cardiology issue through now, not when you’re lying in the ER with a doctor telling you you’re going to die if you don’t have bypass surgery right away.
More Dr. Whitaker Advice on Useless Medicine
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Meet Dr. Whitaker
For more than 30 years, Dr. Julian Whitaker has helped people regain their health with a combination of therapeutic lifestyle changes, targeted nutritional support, and other cutting-edge natural therapies. He is widely known for treating diabetes, but also routinely treats heart disease and other degenerative diseases. More About Dr. Whitaker
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