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 […]

How do doctors feel about the new ABIM board certification requirements?

I received an interesting email this week from the American College of Cardiology. The purpose of the note was to relay the results of a survey regarding member’s views and concerns of the new changes in board certification. Before I tell you about the survey’s striking results and clear message, it’s worth reviewing the contentious […]

US healthcare, wait times and the truth…

It’s time for another post on truth and healthcare. (This almost sounds like a good series.) I’ve recently written that the VA healthcare system represents the truth—and that Americans should get over the Pollyanna view that triage, wait lists, and taking care of increasing numbers of increasingly sick patients can be managed with magic. The […]

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 […]