HEART BYPASS: What Every Heart Patient Must Know by Gloria Hochman

HEART BYPASS: What Every Heart Patient Must Know

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An unselective survey of recent research reports and surgical opinion on heart bypass operations--more comprehensive but less reliable on the subject than the American Heart Association's Heartbook (1980). The final verdict is by no means in on this procedure. The indications for surgery, the results to expect, and the alternative therapies are all still being hotly debated, as are the actual techniques used. Though Hochman quotes many of the big names, her review of research findings is totally undiscriminating; some of the results are so watered down that their meaning is obscure (""men who drank three times their normal amount every so often . . . had 50 percent more heart blockage than those who drank only twice the normal amount""); much of the advice to readers seems to issue from the notorious Unhelpful Surgeons' school (""physicians generally advise patients not to worry too much about sex. . . . However, if they are tired, tense and troubled by it, it might be better to wait until they feel more comfortable""). A great deal of material is covered somewhat haphazardly: why people get angina, what the bypass operation is, diagnostic testing, risks of surgery, alternatives, and ""life after surgery."" But only once, apropos of a specific piece of advice, does she hit the nail squarely on the head: ""the decision depends largely on whom you ask, which studies you choose to believe, and what seems to make sense."" Clearly-explained basics and expert guidance would thus seem to be called for; but they're not found here.

Pub Date: April 23rd, 1982
Publisher: St. Martin's