ICD and Pacemaker deactivation: It is neither physician-assisted suicide nor euthanasia

The purpose of this post is to clarify important issues about cardiac devices as they relate to deactivation. As I wrote yesterday, Paula Span of the NY Times covered this important issue earlier this week. Her coverage came about because of this Mayo Clinic paper published in JAMA-IM, which showed most patients with cardiac devices […]

ICD deactivation in the NY Times — with a quote from a blogger

The news came via a direct message on Twitter. “You got a plug in the NY times. Congrats.” (Thanks Dr. Jay Schloss.) Paula Span, author of the NY Times’ The New Old Age Blog, reported today on the issue of cardiac device deactivation in patients who are approaching end of life. The role I had […]

First ever invited commentary in a medical journal — JAMA-IM

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I’m going to be proud for a moment. Yesterday, the journal JAMA-Internal Medicine published an invited commentary that I co-wrote with Dr. Dan Matlock (@Dan_Matlock) from the University of Colorado. The title of the piece is The Antidote for Unprepared Patients — A Caring Clinician. It’s available for free. Invited editorials in medical journals are often […]

Recap of 2013 American Heart Association Session

Just a few weeks before the 2013 American Heart Association Sessions, Shelley Wood, the managing news editor of theheart.org emailed to ask if I was up for going to the meeting. With trips to San Francisco, Denver, Athens and Amsterdam already in the books this year, I had counted 2013 as a win. I was […]

End of life care – A great American tragedy.

“Why don’t we die the way we say we want to die? In part because we say we want good deaths but act as if we won’t die at all.” Katy Butler, WSJ There is a humanitarian crisis unfolding right now in nearly every hospital in this nation. Aggressive life-prolonging care of the elderly too […]

Day 4 ESC 2013 — Female gender and AF, patient selection for CRT and a Dutch cycling adventure

On the last day of ESC2013 I attended a press conference entitled Update in Rhythmology. The purpose was to highlight four rhythm-related studies released at ESC2103. The most noteworthy of the four abstracts involved gender-related issues in atrial fibrillation therapy. French researchers used a 1.6 million patient database (including 1200 French GPs) to come up […]

Day 3 ESC2013 — Longevity of Tour de France cyclists, meeting old friends, social media, and big plans.

Two EP docs from across the world.

A general rule about writing a story is to lead with the important stuff. I’ve reviewed each of my ESC2013 updates, and as it turns out, each day I have led with the folly. Sorry about that. I’m going to continue the trend. If you had a blog, you could do this too. Before I’m […]

Day 1 ESC — Cardiac Pacing, MRIs and RV lead position

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I thought I loved Germany, but this is ridiculous. I love Amsterdam! Yesterday, Michael O’Riordan and I decided to embrace the Dutch mode of transportation. Mike is a real journalist who works for theHeart.org. He’s also a fellow endurance athlete. We got off the congested tram yesterday and decided to rent bikes. This, my friends, […]

The LifeVest — How much bubble wrap is too much…for LIfe?

Some facts: No caregiver wants his or her patient to die needlessly. Sudden cardiac death remains the number one killer of humans. The arrhythmia that causes sudden death occurs unpredictably. One minute you are fine and the next you are–in the absence of a shock–dead. When cardiac arrest occurs outside a hospital, or say, a […]