Guest post — 10 observations from a 49 year-old falls risk.

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It finally happened. After years of sitting at John’s bedside through multiple serious bike crashes, I had one of my own. I’ve had plenty of time to build up a ridiculous amount of smugness about why he crashes and I don’t. “John is reckless; Staci is cautious. John rides like an airplane engine on a […]

Death-denial is something doctors can change

I’m not sure why so many doctors don’t get it. Death, that is. Where in medical school, or residency, or even in non-medical life, did this many smart people get the idea that death is optional? Theresa Brown is an oncology nurse and a writer. This weekend, her regular column in the New York Times […]

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 […]

Getting the dabigatran (Pradaxa) story right… Correcting four common mistakes.

This purpose of this post is to clarify misstatements made in a recent New York Times article about the anticoagulant drug dabigatran (Pradaxa). The piece had three major inaccuracies, plus one thought-error from a cardiology leader. I write these words because the most valuable tool in the treatment of AF is knowledge. Getting it right […]

A letter to patients and caregivers — Improving US healthcare is a team sport

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The thing about US healthcare that bothers me most is the waste: the nuclear stress tests on demented patients in diapers, the MRIs for every case of back and knee pain, the egregious pre-op tests for low-risk surgeries, the mega-workups for simple cases of AF, the disease mongering in the name of prevention, and most […]

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 […]

A vacation book review…

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The good thing about vacation is that time off is essential. The bad thing is the reentry, which, lately, is harried enough to induce arrhythmia. Almost. Thankfully, I made it through the reentry week and now sit in peace on Saturday morning with my MacBook. I thought I would tell you a little about my […]

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 […]