Cardiology Patient Avoids Bypass Surgery Twice

By: Melody Spurney

Frank Miller, of El Dorado, Kansas, was told he had two days until he was scheduled for a triple bypass surgery. Twice. 

Frank’s cardiac journey began eight years ago with a vascular blockage in his leg. Although he didn’t have any noticeable symptoms of heart trouble, his doctor told him he suspected that there was probably a blockage somewhere else.

As a result of follow-up testing, Frank ended up having heart catheterization procedures that ultimately showed he had two arteries 70% blocked. After his first catheter, a physician’s assistant told him that he would be scheduled for a triple bypass surgery in two days. However, the surgeon decided he wasn’t a good candidate for a bypass surgery. Frank sought a second opinion. The second cardiologist did another heart cath procedure, after which two stents were placed.

Frank faithfully kept his appointments with his cardiologist, but after six years, one of the stents was back to 70% blockage. He was told for a second time that he would be scheduled for a triple bypass surgery in two days. 

“I balked,” he said. Frank told his doctors that he wanted to pursue naturopathic treatments in addition to his traditional cardiac care.

Recognizing that bypass surgery can have a major impact on a patient’s life, Frank wanted to avoid an open-heart surgery and looked for alternatives. 

Frank turned to the Riordan Clinic for additional treatments to address his cardiac issues. He and his provider Michael (Mike) Shaw, PA-C, ABAAHP, decided to begin chelation therapies.

“My cardiologist scoffed at the idea, insisting that bypass surgery was the only lifesaving procedure that was recommended,” he said. While Frank continued with conventional cardiology care, he also continued with chelation therapy at Riordan Clinic. 

At one of Frank’s follow-up visits, his conventional cardiology physician’s assistant told him that bypass surgery was no longer being considered for him because it wasn’t necessary. His last EKG showed small but consistent improvements. Frank said he still does not experience any classic symptoms of heart trouble, such as angina and shortness of breath.

Several of Frank’s doctors are interested in his progress and want to see if his naturopathic treatments, along with traditional cardiac care, work.

“One of my doctors said, ‘Aren’t you supposed to be dead by now?,’” Frank said.

Frank said he has enjoyed the past three years he has spent as a patient at the Riordan Clinic. He appreciates how friendly the staff is compared to conventional doctors’ offices. He doesn’t feel rushed and has time to complete his treatments in a relaxed and friendly environment. He also praised his provider, Mike Shaw, who he said, “knows his subject.” 

“I asked odd questions that I knew the answer to. It put me at ease when he not only knew the answer but was willing to explain it in detail,” he said.

Frank has had such a good experience at Riordan Clinic that his wife also became a patient.

He said he realizes that there may come a time when he has no choice but to have open heart surgery, but he is encouraged by improvements in the surgery procedure. However, he said that pairing his traditional care and Riordan Clinic’s approach to caring for patients should become a standard practice.

“I hope people stop calling Riordan an alternative care facility. I feel it is an addition to traditional medical treatment. It is an entire body method of treating patients. We can only hope that this will become accepted as a standard medical treatment,” he said.