Writing about lifestyle modification — and blaming the patient

I was pleased when the editors of the TheHeart.org reposted my recent essay, Let’s Stop the Unnecessary Treatment of Heart Disease. As of this morning, there are 167 comments. The majority of them were positive, and supportive of lifestyle promotion. Negative comments represented a small minority, but were notable in their vigor, and occasionally reached […]

Let’s stop the unnecessary treatment of heart disease

There are many reasons doctors suffer from burnout and compassion fatigue. One of the least-mentioned of these reasons is that much of what we do is so damn unnecessary. In the US, the land of excess everything, caregivers, especially cardiologists, spend most of our time treating human beings that didn’t need to have disease. Let’s […]

Review of the 2014 ESC Sessions in Barcelona

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Hey Everyone, It’s been a few days since I returned home from Spain. The jet leg has resolved and normal sleep patterns have returned. I’ve had time to review the entire ESC program book. What follows is a review of my work and some notes on the past week in Barcelona. The first thing to […]

Is this the most important cardiology study of the last decade?

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In recent years, progress in the field of cardiology has been painfully incremental. We have enjoyed small gains–a better ablation catheter and mapping system, a couple of new anti-platelet drugs, maybe better stents, and even the highly touted anticoagulant drugs are within 99% in efficacy and safety of warfarin. Major breakthroughs, though, are non-existent. (And […]

Blaming the patient…and the philosophy of caring for people with atrial fibrillation

More than a few commenters recently noted something disturbing in my writing. They said my words are increasingly taking a blame-the-patient tone. That bothers me. Of all people, I know about making imperfect health choices. These comments got me thinking about striking the right balance in writing about health, say, between apathy and defeatism, (oh […]

Two AF cases — and my changing view of AF

I receive many emails about AF. I don’t often answer them because it is bad practice to doctor without seeing the person. Recently, however, I received a note with more general questions. The sender suggested I could use the response as a blog post. The reason I am posting these two cases along with my […]

CardioStim 2014 Recap

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CardioStim is the name given to the biennial gathering of the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) in the Mediterranean resort city of Nice, France. This was my first (ever) trip to France. As most of you know, I write an electrophysiology column (blog) called Trials and Fibrillations over at theHeart.org, which is now called Medscape […]

Exercise, over-indulgence and atrial fibrillation — seeing the obvious

If you like thinking and writing, few topics are better than the excess exercise and heart disease story. Indeed it is a matter for the curious. Two studies published last week in the British journal Heart addressed the relationship of exercise and heart disease. (See references below.) Although these studies garnered mainstream media attention they […]

2014 Heart Rhythm Society Sessions — My massive recap:

Hey Everyone, I recently returned from the Heart Rhythm Society meeting in San Francisco. I attended the meeting as both a physician-journalist-columnist for theHeart.org and as a practicing electrophysiologist. As it so often is with international meetings, I returned energized and rejuvenated about the practice of medicine. Medical meetings are great this way. It’s quite […]

New post on Medscape/Cardiology: My take of the 2014 Atrial Fibrillation treatment guidelines

Atrial fibrillation affects millions of patients, and its incidence and prevalence are on the rise. It’s a peculiar disease in that it affects people so differently. When populations are studied, AF associates with higher rates of stroke, heart failure and death. But patients aren’t populations. In recent years, the treatment options for this pesky disease […]

New post up on Medscape/Cardiology: Ablation versus medicine as an intitial strategy for treating AF

Earlier this month I promised to put together teaching points from the Rich Peverley story. His was an interesting case of  sudden collapse that likely occurred as a result of atrial fibrillation therapy rather than atrial fibrillation itself. This was my original report: Important lessons from the collapse of NHL player Rich Peverley (BTW: It […]