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 […]

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 […]

A follow-up on the LifeVest…and decision quality

One of the most controversial posts I have ever written concerned Zoll corporation’s wearable cardiac defibrillator, which they have smartly branded the LifeVest. Here is the link to the 2013 post: LifeVest: A Precarious and Unproven Bridge . . . to Somewhere The less-than-glowing assessment brought me a great deal of criticism, both publicly and […]

Dronedarone (Multaq), clinical guidelines and patient safety

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(What follows is a brief introduction for a post I wrote over at Medscape/Cardiology. The link is at the bottom of the page.)  It is appropriate to worry about medical errors and patient safety. Here the low-hanging fruit is plentiful: antibiotic stewardship, automated notification of drug interactions and attention to hand washing all join a […]

NSAIDs — Yet another dubious “health” product at CVS

Now that the ‘healthiness’ of products sold at CVS stores is a matter of public discourse, it seems a perfect time to mention the common pain relievers known as Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). It just so happens that two FDA advisory committees are meeting today and tomorrow to discuss the cardiovascular risks of NSAIDs. The […]

New post up on Cardiology Medscape: Lessons learned from the failure of Renal denervation for high blood pressure

Most people come by it honestly. They eat too much, move too little, skimp on sleep, take on too much stress and then succumb to buying larger clothes. The word we use in medicine is insidious. High blood pressure (hypertension – HTN) is one of the leading cardiovascular problems of this time. Some have called […]

2013: Year-end summary of top cardiology stories

When the editors of Medscape asked me to write a Top Ten article on the best Cardiology stories in 2013, I jumped at the chance. I spent a lot of time thinking about Cardiology this year. I was invested. Plus, 2013 was a year for pivoting–big time pivoting. What made news in 2013 was not […]

New post up over at The Atlantic — Improving US healthcare by looking at strategies from India

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Some things are hard to see until one leaves his or her normal surroundings. For American doctors, especially procedure-based doctors, it’s easy to get used to the wastefulness and largesse of delivering care.  Then you travel. You go to another healthcare system and are left to gasp. An AF ablation ‘costs’ 100,000 in the US, […]