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07 Apr 2017


Have You Planned Your Heart Attack?

By Dr Warrick Bishop

RRP: $34.99

Reviewed by Chris Johnson


Anyone for a self-help guide to having a heart attack?

Actually, a new book by Hobart-based cardiologist Dr Warrick Bishop is all about discovering what you might need to understand in order to reduce your risk of having one.

Have You Planned Your Heart Attack? is an engaging read, full of cases studies, graphics and easy-flowing chapters explaining the advances in technology that make it possible to determine risk and make informed preventive decisions.

Bishop’s enthusiasm for CT imaging is evident throughout.

“Taking a picture of the coronary arteries using CT to determine their health isn’t new, it just isn’t being done routinely,” he says.

“Yet, by using these technological advances you can be ahead of the game about your cardiovascular health.

“Wouldn’t you want to know if the single biggest killer in the Western world was lurking inside of you?”

According to the Australian Heart Foundation, 55,000 Australians suffer a heart attack each year.

This self-published book poses the questions: But what if we could be forewarned or prepared for a potential problem with our own arteries? What if we were able to put in place preventive measures that may avert a problem?

The book is all about preventive care and is very much directed at patients – the kind of book a doctor might suggest or recommend a patient reads.

While not bogged down in jargon or technical explanations, it is also substantial enough for doctors to gain further insights into cardiovascular disease and particularly cardiac CT imaging.

Bishop is a practising cardiologist with an interest in cardiovascular disease prevention – with a special interest in cardiac CT imaging, lipid management and eating guidelines.

The introduction to the book aptly sets the scene for what follows, with the author describing how he helped resuscitate a 52-year-old man who had collapsed with cardiac arrest on a fun run in 2005.

The man survived and the outcome was so good it made the front page of the local newspaper.

“When I arrived at work on the Monday I felt fairly pleased to have been a contributor to such a positive outcome,” he writes.

“Before I could become too proud, however, one of my staff pointed out that I had seen the very same gentleman two years earlier for an exercise treadmill test.

“The test had been normal and I had reassured him that ‘everything’s okay’. This revelation shocked me!

“Had I done the wrong thing by this man? Had I misinterpreted the test? Were there other factors of which I had not been aware?

“As it turned out, I had done nothing wrong … My original assessment in 2003 had limitations. This book is about how, with today’s technology, we can do better – potentially much better.

“It is about improved dealing with risk through investigation and management.”

High-profile television journalist Charles Wooley, who reveals he is a patient of Dr Bishop, writes an eloquent foreword to the book.

“Warrick Bishop is a lean and determined-looking man whose shaven head and athletic fitness bring to mind Vladimir Putin, without the unhappy associations,” Wooley writes.

“Indeed, what drew me to Dr Bishop was that he specialises in looking inside the working heart. Using non-invasive imaging technology, he sees inside our coronary arteries to determine just how encrusted the pipes have become.

“For you and me, Warrick Bishop’s picture is worth a thousand words.”


Published: 07 Apr 2017