The Defy Aging Newsletter

Anti-aging psychology, holistic health, and wellness

a biweekly e-mail newsletter for helping you think, feel, look, and be more youthful and live with purpose.

May 7, 2009 Number 208

This issue:

Bypass Surgery or Stents Usually Do More Harm Than Good

Action to take

If your cardiologist recommends bypass surgery, an angiogram, angioplasty, or stent, carefully consider whether it will do more good than conservative medical treatment. (Note: this caveat does not apply if you are having a heart attack or other acute life threatening event.)


Three major research studies show that bypass surgery doesn’t prevent heart attacks or death any more than conservative medical treatment. Further, research shows that angioplasties (with or without stents) don’t prevent heart attacks or deaths any more than conservative medical treatment. There is little research to contradict these well designed, peer reviewed studies published in prominent medical journals. Nevertheless, 1.5 million Americans a year have angioplasties or bypass surgery. (The exception to the data is when a person is experiencing a heart attack or acute event.)

Dr. Michael Ozner, author of The Great American Heart Hoax, is very polite and doesn’t go for the jugular. He has his data speak. Cardiac surgery costs at least $60 billion a year and is the star and major profit center of most hospitals. While the medical profession is increasingly emphasizing evidence-based procedures, if it applies evidence-based criteria to cardiac surgery, it will kill the golden goose. It’s amazing that while the data has been around for decades, cardiologists continue to urge angioplasties and by-pass surgeries extensively despite it not having any better results than conservative medical treatment, in most cases. I surprised that Dr. Ozner’s colleagues haven’t tried to tar and feather him for threatening their lucrative careers.

How could so many unnecessary surgeries continue. I speculate there are at least three factors: 1) looking the other way because of the money, 2) peer pressure, and 3) medicine is very protocol driven and not following the generally accepted protocols leaves a doctor very vulnerable to lawsuits and review boards.

I have been trying to sort out how different experts and organizations are emphasizing different causes of cardiovascular disease. In rejecting the plumbing analogy for cardiovascular disease, Dr. Ozner’s book describes a process that leads to cardiovascular disease. The process starts with excess LDL cholesterol burrowing into the artery walls, joining triglycerides, oxidizing, and prompting inflammation and its aftermath. An intervention at any stage of this process can help. Thus lowering cholesterol helps, lowering triglycerides helps, and anti-oxidants help. Unchecked, the ultimate problem becomes inflammation, which is not only key to cardiovascular disease but also most chronic diseases.

Dr. Ozner offers a ten step program for preventing cardiovascular disease. These include exercise, stress management and nutrition. He also is the author of The Miami Mediterranean Diet. The basic principles of the Mediterranean or his Miami Mediterranean diet are simple: lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, lean protein (especially from small cold water fish), and eschewing processed food.

Overall I think The Great American Heart Hoax is the most important cardiology book in the last hundred years. Hopefully it will be a wake-up call for having cardiology become more evidence-based and more holistic.

You can hear the free 50 minute podcast of my interview with Dr. Ozner at Ageless Lifestyles® LLC.


The bad news: Most heart surgery is unnecessary, and most surgical interventions are costly, risky, and ineffective because they don’t address the underlying cause of heart disease. The good news: Heart disease is preventable and reversible, and the best clinically proven way to cure it is both safe and low cost.

~Dr. Michael Ozner


The young lady asked, "Doctor will the scar show?""That," said the doctor, "is totally up to you."

The surgeon asked his wealthy patient if he would like a local anesthetic."I can afford the best," said the patient. "Get me something imported."

The worried patient asked the doctor how dangerous the surgery is. "It's very dangerous, five out of six patients die from it" said the doctor. "But you have nothing to worry about. My last five patients died.

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"Dr. Michael Brickey, The Anti-Aging Psychologist, teaches people to think, feel, look and be more youthful. He is an inspiring keynote speaker and Oprah-featured author. His works include:  Defy Aging, 52 baby steps to Grow Young, and Reverse Aging (anti-aging hypnosis CDs). Visit for a free report on anti-aging secrets and a free newsletter with practical anti-aging tips."

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