The William J. Clinton
55 West 125th St.
New York, NY 10027
The chance you will ask
for my opinion on your pending surgery this week for
blockages of your heart arteries is about the same
as you escaping the heart bypass business.
Regardless, for the sake of others and to clear my
conscience by at least trying, I will take this
opportunity to share ten challenging thoughts with
Dont be rushed into making a decision think about
it they gave you several days already so
immediate surgery is obviously not critical you
have time to learn more.
Over 80% of men in the USA by your age (58 years)
have coronary artery disease which can be found by
an angiogram, and over half with your cholesterol
level (233 mg/dl) have at least one coronary artery
already closed by 50% or more in other words, they
are fair game for bypass surgeons. Fortunately,
coronary artery disease is not very deadly the
over-all risk of death from this disease for people
with affected arteries is less than 2% per year,
untreated. Compare these facts with what you have
been frightened into believing this past weekend.
Nearly four decades of scientific research show
coronary artery bypass surgery fails to save lives
in most cases. This is because the goal of this
surgery is to go around very stable (rock hard)
blockages; however, these firm, partial obstructions
to heart blood flow are not the life-threatening
problem and your doctors know this
well-established fact. These big blockages rarely
close down the arteries and almost never cause heart
attacks. However, most of the attention is focused
on these pseudo-villains found on your angiogram
because the result of their discovery feeds money
into the heart businesses.
The culprit lesions are tiny invisible to the
angiogram sores (volatile plaques) which explode
inside your arteries suddenly forming an occluding
blood clot (thrombosis). Surgery does nothing to
stop these lethal events. Fortunately, because the
lesions have been recently formed, and are still
soft and active, this deadly side of heart disease
is also easily amenable to simple methods.
These little time bombs (volatile plaques) can be
quieted down quickly with a healthy diet and
judicious use of cholesterol-lowering medications.
Plus, a baby aspirin will immediately thin your
blood and make the formation of a potentially lethal
blood clot much less likely if a plaque were to
You have a reversible disease, Bill this is not
concrete in your arteries. Living tissues heal and
your body will fight to stay alive. Now is the time
to talk to your friend Dr. Dean Ornish. Regardless
of whether or not you have the surgery, you are
going to have to change back to the low-fat,
no-cholesterol diet Dr.Ornish taught you several
years ago. Read my June 2003 newsletter article:
Cleaning Out Your Arteries.
The real indications for bypass surgery are: a)
incapacitating chest pain and/or b) damage to your
left ventricle (heart chamber) so that you eject 50%
or less of your blood with each heart beat. Every
cardiologist and bypass surgeon knows this. From
what I have read you have neither of these
legitimate indications for surgery.
You are known for your wit and intellect. This
surgery causes brain damage. Measurement of
chemical products released into the spinal fluid
during surgery shows that 100% of people suffer
brain damage. In most cases the changes are subtle
like personality disorders, or you may not be able
to remember names and numbers as well as you used
to. A study in the February 2001 issue of the
New England Journal of Medicine found that 42
percent of patients five years after surgery had a
20% decrease in brain function. My experience has
been that doctors mislead patients into believing
this is not an important problem.
There is a real possibility that bypass surgery
could interfere with another of your well-known
attributes. Erectile dysfunction has been reported
to be caused by bypass surgery. (Dont you just
hate it when people hit below the belt?)
Your most recent attempt at weight loss, the
South Beach Diet, contributed to your present
troubles. Steak, chicken, eggs, and Canadian bacon
consumed without limitation are bad for your
arteries, Bill. Even the author, Arthur Agatston,
MD, must know this after all he, himself, takes
statin drugs to lower his cholesterol, and fish oil
and aspirin to help reduce his personal risk of a
10) You have always been interested in better
healthcare for Americans and now you have an
opportunity to make a real difference stand up to
this big business and demand the truth before you
make your decision to have or postpone surgery.
Right now you are being lied to mostly by omission
of vital information from doctors you can verify
everything I have written to you in just a few short
hours on the Internet (www.nlm.nih.gov).
Your example could save more lives, more
unnecessarily suffering, than any action you could
ever have taken while you were in office. Make the
most out of this apparent setback in your health.
John McDougall, MD