Where is Cardiology in 2014? An AHA Review

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Last week, I attended the American Heart Association (AHA) 2014 Scientific Sessions in Chicago. I was there as both a learner and physician-writer for theHeart.org. Here are a few paragraphs on the meeting. The main purpose of this post is to introduce the five editorials I wrote. The links to the posts are at the […]

Staying Alive — Start The Heart Foundation taking off in Louisville

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My friend and colleague William Dillon (@wmdillon) is an interventional cardiologist. He and his wife Sally have started a non-profit foundation called Start the Heart Foundation. Their goal is to improve survival of patients who suffer cardiac arrest in Louisville Kentucky. The odds of surviving cardiac arrest here in Louisville are dismal: more than 90% […]

Sudden death and a common antibiotic

The longer I practice medicine, the more nervous I get about medications, especially when patients are already on other drugs for chronic diseases. I much prefer deprescribing. A recent study on the common antibiotic cotrimoxazole, which is a combination of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim, and often referred to by its brand name, Bactrim or Septra, lends […]

Because there is nothing else to do

If you ever hear your doctor say we are going to do something because there is nothing else to do, be afraid. Be very afraid. First of all, it should be self-evident that if caring and empathy and relief of suffering count as doing something, there is always something to do for patients. A growing problem […]

Does the controversy over statin drugs herald a new era of doctoring?

In July, I wrote a short blog post expressing doubt about the value of statin drugs. Medscape republished it on their website and it went viral–in a medical sort of way. The post has 631 comments. It was Tweeted extensively, page views have been off the charts (for me), and I even received an invitation […]

To deprescribe…Adding a new verb to the language of doctoring

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What follows is my most recent editorial in the Journal of the Kentucky Medical Association. It is reposted with permission. **** One day every month, my wife Staci, a hospice and palliative care physician, goes to see an elderly woman in the nursing home. The routine has gone on for years, which is surprising because […]

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 […]

On the eve of ESC 2014 — Barcelona Spain

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The 2014 European Society of Cardiology Congress begins tomorrow in Barcelona, Spain. I’m here with my colleagues from the theheart.org Medscape | Cardiology to cover the action. ESC is special because it is such a large meeting, with over 30,000 registered attendees and more than 500 journalists. This year’s addition has an added flair–as the […]

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 […]

Five lessons from the Niacin failure

This week the New England Journal of Medicine published two studies on the role of niacin in preventing future cardiac events. The short story is that niacin was ineffective and associated with significant harm. A number of excellent summary pieces have been written, and I will reference them at the end. The purpose of writing […]

Growing doubt on statin drugs — the problem of drug-lifestyle interaction

My mind is changing about statins. I’m growing increasingly worried about the irrational exuberance over these drugs, especially when used for prevention of heart disease that is yet to happen. An elderly patient called my office last week to tell me thank you…not for a successful procedure or surgery, but rather, for helping with a […]