“Heart Therapy,” by Gabor Rubanyi, explains how the heart can develop new blood vessels in response to blockages in the coronary arteries (although it does not do so enough to get around the blockages for most patients). It also describes investigations into how to promote these so-called collateral vessels.
The article answers a question I have had for 28 years. Until my first, minor heart attack in 1989, I had been running four miles, five days a week for more than a decade. Then, suddenly, I was unable to run at all. My doctor, knowing my family health history, suspected trouble, and he was right. It was pretty exciting for the cardiology staff examining me when I experienced a second heart attack while I was hooked up to an electrocardiogram on a treadmill. I simply became very exhausted.
After undergoing a double-bypass sur - gery, which was a breeze at age 43, I went home and mowed the lawn. I asked the surgeon about muscle damage, and he indicated that the area was about 10 millimeters across even though one of my coronary arteries was completely blocked and had been for a very long time. He also said that my collateral circulation was highly developed
I had always wondered what was primarily responsible for this circulatory savior. The possibilities were vigorous exercise or natural processes. Rubanyi makes it clear that both were contributors. Hence, I can thank my usually terrible, but here lucky, genes and my exercise program. F