What To Do Before Opting For Heart Surgery

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Filed Under: Heart Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

In many cases, the decision to undergo heart surgery is easy—particularly if you are symptomatic with a lot of heart risk factors, you have left main coronary artery disease, and your quality of life is poor. But, if you are asymptomatic, the decision to have surgery may be a difficult one.

Consider Fred, a 56-year-old engineer who came to me several years ago for a second opinion. Fred’s doctor recommended that he undergo bypass surgery immediately. His angiogram indicated two coronary vessels were about 70 percent blocked, and his stress test revealed a small area of what cardiologists call ischemia. No doubt about it: His heart was vulnerable to an attack.

But Fred was satisfied with the quality of his life. He was not symptomatic and he wasn’t suffering from any known or unknown heart risk factors. He could walk three to four miles a day without experiencing symptoms of angina, such as shortness of breath, profuse sweating, or other symptoms of cardiovascular problems.

So I recommended that he delay surgery, take beta blockers and nitrates, switch to a diet that adheres to healthy heart nutrition guidelines, enrich the diet to include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and coenzyme Q10—a key ingredient in my core nutritional program for healing cardiovascular problems. I also kept him on a walking program. I told Fred, “You have time. We don’t have to rush into surgery. Let’s see if these treatments eliminate the potential need for surgery.”

If, like Fred, you have documented cardiovascular problems but no symptoms and a good quality of life, I think you should consider the alternatives I’ve discussed before rushing into surgery.

Using Your Innate Healing Power

I strongly recommend delaying surgery until you have an opportunity to heal yourself. By that I mean trying alternative approaches to improving your heart health—whether it’s adhering to the healthy heart nutrition tips I’ve shared in this blog, incorporating exercise into your life, or taking nutritional supplements. The key is in being open to helping to heal yourself of the cardiovascular problems that plague you. 

In addition, I urge you to take periodic stress tests and be aware of any unusual symptoms you may be experiencing. If the nuclear stress test shows improvement in your blood flow, then you should continue to put off the decision to have surgery. I can’t tell you how many of my patients have healed themselves of their cardiovascular problems, and have never had to have bypass surgery or angioplasty.

Whatever option you choose, I urge you to continue on the path to a healthy lifestyle—not only to help prevent cardiovascular problems but also to limit its progression. Unfortunately, I have had to recommend second surgeries to patients who considered angioplasty or bypass surgery an instant “cure” for their heart disease, only to return to an unhealthy lifestyle.

We physicians and holistic health practitioners do our best to offer options, prescribe medications, and perform surgery, but YOU, and only you, have the power to truly heal yourself and make the most of the “second chance” surgery gives you.

For more information on the path to a healthy heart, visit www.drsinatra.com.

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