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Getting to the Heart of the Cardiovascular Matter

Getting to the Heart of the Cardiovascular Matter

"The collective will and conscience of my profession is being tested as never before. Now is the time for legendary work."
- - Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Cardiologist

In yesterday's Notmilk column, I complimented Dr. John McDougall for his brilliant commentary which can be found at:

Today, we discover the cure to mankind's #1 killer: in Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's Book:

"Reversing and Curing Heart Disease"


While working at America's number one cardiovascular hospital, the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn did everything in his power to make a complete nuisance of himself.

Imagine a hospital treating more than 2 million heart patients each year with a fast food burger restaurant in the lobby.

Add an Esselstyn or two, and remove hundreds of thousands of tests, procedures, and surgeries. Esselstyn's work alone has the potential to cost the Cleveland Clinic a billion or more dollars per year in cash flow.

One day, an creative administrator was hit with a bolt of imaginative lightening. "Let's give Essy two dozen of the most hopeless heart cases, the ones who didn't respond to triple bypasses, balloon angioplasty, or other procedures."

And so they did.

Esselstyn took on 23 males and one female, all given virtual death sentences. The most remarkable of Dr. Esselstyn's patients was a colleague, Dr. Crowe. Esselstyn writes:

"After his heart attack in 1996, tests showed that the entire lower third of his left anterior descending coronary artery-the vessel leading to the front of the heart and nicknamed, for obvious reasons, 'the widowmaker' -was significantly diseased."

Caldwell Esselstyn's skill as a surgeon is obvious, but his proficiency as a writer might be the best part of his work. Although readers of his book have little or no skill in assessing heart damage by reviewing coronary angiograms or scans or x-rays, or other diagnostic tools, Esselstyn skillfully translates the language of cardiologists into a layman's understanding by presenting easily understood photographs with arrows and highlighted commentary.

His book is a treasure map, and whether you are diseased or in perfect health, you will find millions of dollars of precious health advice.

Dr. Esselstyn writes:

"In the United states alone, more than half a million people die of it (heart disease) every single year...The United States spends more than $250 billion a year on heart disease. That's about the same amount the nation spent on the first two and half years of its military venture in Iraq..."

Of the 24 patients, one did die. All of the others survived through the duration of this twelve-year study. Of the man who did die, Esselstyn writes:

"...He had been accepted into the study after sustaining a massive heart attack during an unsuccessful angioplasty... his left heart chamber was so badly damaged and scarred that it was able to pump blood at less than 20 percent of its normal capacity...After he had spent nearly five years on the program, a follow-up angiogram compared four of the areas where his arteries had narrowed. Two were unchanged. Two had improved. Ten months later, he died of cardiac arrhythmia...his heart, which was so scarred, had literally electrocuted itself into arrest...As for the rest of the group, all improved."

The survivors? Esselstyn confidently calls them "heart attack-proof."

The 24 patients came to Dr. Esselstyn cumulatively having suffered through 49 life-threatening cardiovascular events in the years leading up to the study. Esselstyn writes:

"Among the fully compliant patients, during the twelve-year study, there was not one further clinical episode of worsening coronary artery disease..."

Six patients left the study, being unable to stay with a vegan diet. For them, the call of the cheese and meat represented the call of the wild. Of them, Esselstyn writes:

"In every one of them, the heart disease had grown worse. They had suffered...four cases of increased angina, two cases of ventricular tachycardia, four bypass operations, one angioplasty, one case of congestive heart failure..."

Caldwell Esselstyn is a visionary and his work is pure genius.

I have chosen to live the rest of my life according to his brilliant advice which is:

Eat a low fat/no fat plant-based diet.

Robert Cohen

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