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Gene and Bernie Millen's
Heart Health For Life

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Open Heart Surgery Isn't As
Much Fun as You Might Think.

Open heart surgery was the furthest thing from my mind. It was a pleasant fall morning as my wife Bernie and I casually drove to Valley Heart Associates  for a “routine” thallium treadmill test.

There were no early heart attack symptoms, no angina pain...just a little tingling in my chest. Upon arrival at the cardiologist’s office the proficient nurses wired me up to the cardiac monitors and I was looking forward to “showing them my stuff”.

After what seemed like an eternity on the treadmill (about two minutes) the technician finally hit the stop switch, unhooked me and guided me to a chair for a very welcome rest.

A few minutes later a nurse said, “The doctor would like to see you now.” and ushered me into the cardiologist’s office. As I sat down he was staring at my chart with a deep frown on his face.

“I don’t like what I see here”, he said, “You are a walking time bomb. You need to go to the hospital immediately.”

The possibility of open heart surgery was looming its ugly head. My wife and I were in a state of shock as we drove to the hospital and went through the check-in process.

An angiogram revealed blockages of 80% to 90% in several arteries. Two days later Dr. Hugh Tobin, a highly skilled heart surgeon, sawed open my heart and stitched in bypasses to six of my favorite arteries. 

Yes, that's three more than triple bypass surgery!

In 1992 I retired from my day job as president of a locally owned bank and my wife Bernie and I opened the Vital Life Center, a health and wellness club dedicated to finding solutions that can empower people to enjoy heart health for life!

During the past 12 years we've worked with hundreds of people, many who have had open heart surgery, and have seen dramatic improvements in their cholesterol, heart health, energy and vitality by implementing some simple, but vital changes in their life.

Our wellness program for people over age 50 was judged Number One in California for four years in a row and in 1998 was judged 2nd in the United States in competition with more than 2,500 Health and Sports Clubs.

In November 2024 we retired from Vital Life and are now focused on helping people all over the world to live an energetic, healthy and vital life...and keeping them from having open heart surgery.

The doctors and nurses seem surprised that I'm not on any prescription drugs, my blood pressure is good, cholesterol ratios are fine and the best thing is that I have lots of energy, sleep great and feel like I could live a vital active life for many more years.

 This has been accomplished by following the recommendations you will find on this website.

My goal is to help you learn from my mistakes. Believe me open heart surgery isn't as much fun as you would expect.

To learn how to avoid open heart surgery take a look at How To Prevent Heart Attacks.


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