The patient: “James” is a retired architect who has been patient of mine for years. When he called in complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath, I immediately sent him to a local hospital. He asked me to come and “run point” for him there—to be his advocate—a request I could not refuse.

What I did for him in hospital: James needed critical care evaluation and had me listed as “one of his PCP’s” (primary care physician). In Connecticut, hospital privileges are not afforded to naturopathic doctors (my degree), nor does Medicare, a federal program, cover my services, so James retains a local MD as his “backup Medicare doc” to cover hospitalizations. I did meet James when he arrived at the hospital by ambulance and coordinated his intake in the emergency department. I told James that I would help him understand the intended procedures and emphasized that he needed to agree to everything that the doctors wanted to do for him.

How his care proceeded: As procedures progressed and findings were acquired, I discussed with James the good news that he showed no signs of a heart attack but that his heart showed a sensitivity to stress, which was the probable cause of what the hospitalist, cardiologist and I concurred was a “transient atrial fibrillation”—a temporary rapid heartbeat that is often associated with passing chest pain.

How we addressed his problem: James agreed with everyone that he should be on a single medication, a “beta blocker,” with a very light dose to quiet down the irritability of his heart. He also agreed to wear a 24-hour heart monitor and report back to cardiology for analysis. He was able to be discharged after only five hours in the hospital, a very short stay by today’s standards.

The patient’s progress: James has been “out of the shop” now for a few weeks and has started on a supportive regime with me including:

* Co-enzyme Q10 to improve heart contraction and blood flow.

* L-carnitine to enhance the heart’s ability to deal with times of lowered oxygen as occurs with fibrillation.

* A special calcium, magnesium, and potassium supplement designed to target heart stability.

His cardiologist likes what he is seeing…the 24-hour heart monitor was clear…and he is even thinking of having James discontinue the beta-blocker—albeit “not so fast.” Ah, conventional medicine!For more with Andrew Rubman, ND, check out his video series, Nature Doc’s Natural Cures and podcast.