Subscribe to Dr. Mirkin's free FITNESS & HEALTH NEWSLETTER
President Eisenhower Changed the Way Doctors Treat Heart Attacks

On Sept 23, 1955, the President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower was in Denver, and staying at his in-laws’ house. While playing golf at Cherry Hills Country Club, he complained of pain in his chest and belly.

MIS-DIAGNOSED AS INTESTINAL PAIN: He had dinner that evening with his physician, Major General Howard McCrum Snyder, and went to bed early, still complaining of pain. At 2:00 AM, the pain became so severe that the president’s wife, Mamie, called his doctor, Major General Snyder. At 3:00 AM, probably the only time ever, a major general in the United States Army made a house call for medical reasons. Dr. Snyder mistook the chest pain for another episode of intestinal cramping because the president had a long history of Crohn’s disease, recurrent ulcers in his intestines.

IT WAS REALLY A HEART ATTACK: It wasn’t until the next afternoon that an electrocardiogram was done, which showed that the president had had a left anterior heart attack He was transported by car to Fitzsimmons Veterans Hospital and placed in an oxygen tent.

NOT AN ANEURYSM: His military doctors listened to his heart and heard a grating sound, called a friction rub. They interpreted this sound as a sign that the president might have had an aneurysm, a ballooning of his heart, that could rupture and kill him instantly.

COMPLETE BED REST IS WRONG: They put him on absolute bed rest and did not allow him to move for several days. That could harm him because inactivity increases the likelihood of forming clots that can block arteries and kill him.

PAUL DUDLEY WHITE SAVED HIS LIFE: After a few days, the doctors finally requested a consultation from Paul Dudley White, a Harvard physician. White came to the president’s bedside and decided that Eisenhower did not have an aneurysm of his heart. He immediately got him up from his prone position in bed and sat him up in a chair. The president’s chest pain became so severe that they had to put him back in bed. Later Dr. White did get Eisenhower out of bed and encouraged him to exercise, which at that time was revolutionary. Now doctors recommend exercise for all heart attack patients as soon as they dare.

PAUL DUDLEY WHITE AND I BOTH RIDE BIKES: In 1961, I was a resident at the Massachusetts General Hospital where Dr. White saw patients. I remember seeing the 77-year old Paul Dudley White come to work on a bicycle. He continued to ride his bike to work into his eighties. I am that age now and ride more than 200 miles a week and race all-out three days a week. The difference between Dr. White and me, at the same age, is that I am retired and retirement is too rewarding to ruin with the stress of work.

SMOKING CAUSES HEART ATTACKS: In March 1949, six years before his first heart attack, Eisenhower’s personal physician, Dr. Howard Snyder, told Ike to reduce smoking from four packs of cigarettes per day to one pack. However, Eisenhower quickly learned that counting cigarettes is far more difficult than not smoking at all, so he gave up smoking altogether.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES TO AVOID HEART ATTACKS: Ike’s survival depended on changing his lifestyle. Paul Dudley White told Eisenhower to exercise, cut back on eating meat, take an anti- clotting agent called coumadin, eat a low-fat diet, and maintain his weight at 175 pounds. He went on to six more years as president and retired to an active life until he died 14 years later.

LOW-FAT DIET RECOMMENDED AT THAT TIME: This was the first time that the press extensively reported that heart attacks might be caused by cholesterol and saturated fat. Researcher Ancel Keys of the University of Minnesota claimed that a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet could prevent heart attacks. He was right, but wrong because he should have included restricting sugar and other refined carbohydrates.

REFINED CARBOHYDRATES CAUSE HEART ATTACKS ALSO. Preventing heart attacks requires more than reducing your intake of red meat, stopping smoking, losing weight, and exercising regularly. You also have to stop eating fried foods and reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates including sugared drinks and all sugar-added foods. People who are overweight, those who are diabetic, those who store fat primarily in their bellies, and those who have high blood cholesterol levels should restrict all refined carbohydrates.

HE DIDN’T CHANGE ENOUGH: From April through August 1968, Eisenhower had four heart attacks and his heart stopped beating 14 times. At 12:25 PM, March 28 1969, President Eisenhower died of heart failure, at the very young age of 79.

February 10th, 2013
|   Share this Report!

About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
Copyright 2016 Drmirkin | All Rights Reserved | Powered by Xindesigns