Kirkus Star


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This is a neat, intelligent, and reassuring book well suited to anyone who has had or is at risk of having a heart attack. Brief chapters, some only a page or two long, explain in straightforward terms what is an MI (myocardial infarction), how it differs from an attack of angina (an important consideration in judging whether to go to a hospital), and what complications can result. Some surprising statistics show up: coronary artery bypass has become the commonest major operation in the United States with a mortality risk of between 1 and 5%. Bypass surgery is very effective in relieving the pain of angina but is no cure-all for the atherosclerotic process: arterial narrowing and heart attacks can still occur. Much of the text explains the healing process following a heart attack, the kinds of drugs likely to be prescribed, what dietary and exercise regimens are most helpful and, in general, how best to time and arrange activities so the patient can return to leading a normal life, relieved of anxiety. The author is Director of the S. A. Levine Cardiac Center at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, which has a firm commitment to educating patients. Included is a questionnaire given to Center patients on discharge to assess their understanding of their condition and clarify any fuzziness. That, plus a variety of helpful appendices (describing drugs, clinical tests, defining medical terms, etc.) and the overall competence of the writing make this highly recommended reading for patients and family members.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1978
Publisher: Little, Brown