Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Some Disturbing Facts

The fact that most patients with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) can be safely and medically treated instead of with invasive and surgical solutions such as angioplasty and Coronary Bypass Arterial Grafts (CABG) has been known for over ten years. C. Pepini, writing in the Journal of Myocardial Ischemia in 1995 said this in his paper titled "Management of Myocardial Ischemia: A Time to Re-evaluate." In 1997, in their paper Evidence-Based Coronary Care," in a 1997 Annals of Internal Medicine , Braunwald and Antman reaffirmed Pepini's findings.

My own noninvasive cardiologist, Howard Wayne, MD ( says in more than 22 years of treating his CAD patients with medication, only 11 of them had to have a CABG because they stopped responding to his medical regimen. During the same period, mortality in his patients from CAD and incidences of heart attacks has been less than one percent a year.

Finally, Dr. Thomas Preston, MD, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Chief of Cardiology at Pacific Medical Center in Seattle, said, "CABG is overused, frequently ineffective, and absurdly expensive. It is the epitome of modern medical technology, yet, as it is now practiced, its net effect on the nation's health is probably negative." Strong words from a cardiologist, but no stronger than those Howard Wayne has been saying for years.

In his editorial, "Marketing an Operation," Preston states the following:
  • CABG consumes more medical money than any other treatment of procedure.
  • Although performed less frequently than most common abdominal and gynecological operations, it is the leader in terms of equipment and personnel, hospital space, and assorted resources.
  • CABG does not cure CAD, is scandalously overused, and its high costs drains resources from other areas of need.
  • Fully half (Wayne says 95%) of the CABGs done in the United States are unnecessary surgeries that do not save lives or even prevent heart attacks.
  • Among sufferers of CAD, those treated without surgery enjoy the same survival rate as those who do.

These are the words of a respected Professor of Medicine and a chief of Cardiology for a major medical center. They are the words of a noted noninvasive cardiologist who has been treating CAD patients primarily with medication for over 22 years. There has been reams of papers published in medical journals for more than a decade that expose the Coronary Artery Bypass Graft as unnecessary, expensive and dangerous. They stop your heart when they perform this surgery for crying out loud. Listen to the wisdom of a few upstanding cardiologists who are desperately trying to stop the gross over-prescribing of CABGs.

Why do cardiologists insist on performing this surgery instead of treating their CAD patients? There can only be two answers to this question. They either do not know any better or it is a matter of they put their own financial well-being ahead of the health of their patients.

This message is being sent out in emails and placed on message boards and forums around the Internet. Administrators of these sights have a choice. They can continue deleting these posts and demonstrate they are part of the problem, or they can prominently display and promote this discussion. Let's see what side of the issue they are really on.

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