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 Angioplasty

This subject is truly dear to my heart.

Let's start off by getting a good foundation of what angioplasty and catheterizations are and why they are suggested by the medical profession.

Arteries are the blood vessels which carry blood, containing fresh oxygen, away from the heart .

A healthy artery is supple, elastic and free of any deposits.

  1. A healthy artery
  2. A artery with minute tears or abrasions usually caused by pH imbalance, acid and inflammation.
  3. As a response to the damage to the artery from the abrasions, the body "patches" the artery, usually with cholesterol.
  4. If inflammation persists the body adds a larger amount of "patching, i.e. plaque".
  5. Doctors sometimes opt to do an angio plasty and place in a stent instead of bypass surgery.

During the catheterization a doctor inserts a thin plastic tube (catheter) usually into an artery in the groin. From there, it is advanced into the chambers of the heart or into the coronary (heart) arteries or to the arteries feeding the brain.

Angioplasty is a procedure in which a balloon on the end of the catheter is inflated to push plaque against the vessel wall to open narrowed or blocked arteries leaving behind a stent.

Angioplasty is most commonly suggested when a doctor suspects blockage or narrowing of the arteries which feed the heart. They do so in hopes of reestablishing circulation to the heart muscle.

PROCEDURE

The groin (usually), neck or forearm is the catheter insertion area. The site is cleansed with a sterilizing solution, shaved and covered with sterile drapes. To numb the area, a local anesthetic is given by an injection.

After a small incision is made, a catheter 2 to 3 mm in diameter (pencil-sized plastic tube) is inserted into the artery. It is passed via the "sheath" through the artery to the heart, into a coronary artery and sometimes into the left ventricle

A contrasting agent (dye) is injected into the catheter to show areas of blockage and angiograms (photographs using X-ray) are taken. A "hot-flash" sensation throughout the body that lasts for 10 to 15 seconds is often caused by the dye.

DANGERS AND RISKS

In 1983, there were 32,000 angioplasties preformed in the U.S. By 1988, there were over 200,000 performed. Angioplasties are currently performed at over one million a year!

The medical profession seems to be able to "sell" this procedure because it is technically non-invasive, considerably less cost than a bypass, and there is less hospital recovery time.

The average person I ask, tells me that their doctor suggested their catheterization or angioplasty in a way that gave the patient the feeling that it was "No Big Deal".

The mortality rates, I believe would stun most people. The mortality rates differ depending on which study you use. Anywhere from 1.5 to 6% ( That is roughly a chance of up to 1 out of every 17 people DIE directly because of the procedure.) The percentages seem to hinge on two factors:

  1. If the angioplasty is opening an artery to the brain (higher incident of death) or to the heart (lower incident of death).
  2. If the hospital has an on-site coronary bypass graft surgery capability. Getting the angioplasty in a hospital without this surgical capability increase mortality by as much as 38%.

Symptoms after surgery which warrant prompt medical attention are:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Paint or discoloration in leg
  • Shaking

Surgical complications include:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Ruptured artery
  • Arrhythmia
  • Bleeding at insertion site
  • Infections at the insertion site

Additional Concern - Stent Recall: The 90,000 TaxusTM and ExpressTM stent systems recall which, to my knowledge wasn't factored in the mortality rates. 1

EFFECTIVENESS OF ANGIOPLASTY

Short-term angioplasty and stenting seem to be very effective. However, the vast majority of the time the blockage redevelops. Doctors define a "successful" operation as one that widens the arteries by 20% or more, leaving the artery with 50% or less blockage. That is opening the blood vessel in a little isolated area, not the whole body.

AN ALTERNATIVE

If plaque build up and narrowing is suspected, and time is not critical, I suggest you get to what causes plaque buildup. There is increasing evidence which indicates that plaque is not caused by elevated cholesterol.

Compelling evidence indicates that plaque build up is the body's attempt to heal weakened for damaged arteries. (knowing this, should additional pressure be put in this area?)

To understand this concept, think of a working man's hands. If there has been an irritation on his hands, he might form blisters to protect the skin. The body then produces calluses where the irritation has been to protect the underlying tissue. So it is with the blood vessels.

Correcting the body's pH to help minimize inflammation and giving the vessels nutrients to heal should turn the "patch -with-plaque" mode off, normalizing the condition of the arteries.

Lowering the cholesterol isn't the answer, minimizing the inflammation is the key.

Eighteen studies of high cholesterol, eleven done on older people, did not predict "all-case mortality."2 In one study, low cholesterol predicted an increased risk of dying from"gastro-intestinal and respiratory disease." 3 Dr. Eric Sijbrands and his colleagues cited the fact that "genetically modified mice with high cholesterol are protected against severe bacterial infections."4

A "C-reactive protein(CRP)" test, which measures the concentration of a protein in blood that indicates acute inflammation, is a more accurate indicator of possible arterial build up.

Homecystine also indicates inflammation and is a test I would suggest.

If you your "CRP" test is high I would suggest building or repairing the damage of the circulatory tubing by using Thai-go and correcting your pH balance. If you have blockage I would do the proceeding plus take Mega-Chel.

In a year's timex in the U.S., approximately 1,204,000 catheterizations and angioplasties were done. Up to 19 out of 20 were done without a hitch. My mother's was not one of them. When the doctor fed the catheter into her heart, he perforated her artery. A second doctor did an emergency operation to save her, but it was futile.

My mother died 16 May 2005, not from a clot or heart attack, but from the catherization and angioplasty procedure.

1. Angioplasty.org, Special Report, 6/3/2005

2. Quarterly Journal of Medicine 96, 927-934, 2003

3. Report on the conference on low blood cholesterol, Circulation 86, 1046-1060, 1972

4. British Medical Journal 303, 893-898, 1991, Sijbrands EJG and others. 

Copyright © 2010 Dr. Mary Reed Gates, CNHP, MH, ND, Lancaster, PA
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