Dr. Smith Goes to Washington

Picture1This post was authored by Annabelle S. Volgman, MD, FACC, a member of the Women in Cardiology (WIC) Section.

 Cardiologists on Capitol Hill? It turns out that a big part of taking care of patients is controlled by what happens in Congress! Lobbyists can have negative reputations, but there is nothing wrong with lobbying for your patients and your livelihood in order to improve the care of those patients.

As a naturalized American citizen, I found it fascinating to interact with representatives and senators about the day-to-day challenges and experiences of a cardiologist. They were actually interested in hearing what I had to say! I realized after decades of being a cardiologist that, if I really wanted to impact health care, I could do so by influencing the people who make the laws. I hope every cardiologist can have the experience of “going to the Hill” in order to advocate for cardiovascular clinicians and the care of our patients. Continue reading

Private Practice Cardiology: Advice For Young Mothers

This article was authored by Riya Chacko, MD, a cardiologist at the Cardiovascular Group of Syracuse in Syracuse, NY, and a member of the ACC Women in Cardiology (WIC) Section.

In fellowship, no one prepares you for the decisions you will face in private practice and certainly not the issues you might face as a young mother.  As a result, many young mothers fall out of the workforce. I’ve decided to list a few issues below which I think other young moms and cardiologists should consider before starting private practice: Continue reading

ACC.16 Video Highlights – Day 3

See more insightful interviews on the hottest topics and Late-Breaking Clinical Trials from the last day of ACC.16 on the ACC’s ACC.16 YouTube Playlist. For comprehensive coverage of the meeting from the fellow perspective, see the full list of FITs on the GO videos on ACC’s FITs on the Go YouTube Playlist. The FITs on the GO video blog provides an FIT perspective of the meeting, featuring interviews with top experts and cardiovascular leaders on news and events taking place at ACC.16. Highlights from the third day include:

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Special Issue of JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging Highlights Value of CV Imaging in Women

LESLEE_SHAW_HEADSHOTThis post was authored by Leslee J. Shaw, PhD, FACC, associate editor of JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging and a member of ACC’s Cardiovascular Disease in Women Committee.

For decades, we have heard all of the statistics that more women are dying of coronary heart disease than men. This early finding from the mid-1980s has continued to unfurl with additional data on unique biologic differences coupled with quality of care differences between women and men. All of these factors disadvantage women and illustrate the sizeable gap in knowledge relating to heart disease for females.

If the goals of our health care system are to provide high-quality care for all, then for half the population, we have truly failed! Is this too much of a nihilist’s perspective? Maybe, as gains have been made. We have gained tremendous insight into sex-specific differences over the past decade based on evidence from research using cardiovascular imaging.

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Who Cares About Lifestyle … I Want Science!

FreemanThis post was authored by Andrew Freeman, MD, FACC (@heartcuredoc)

I have definitely heard people question the importance of lifestyle before. Exercise up until recently was considered “alternative” medicine, and diet was considered an adjunct to pills. However, very good data and research are now showing that once seemingly innocent things – diet, exercise, smoking cessation and now even mindfulness – are proving to be as potent or more potent for the vast majority of diseases that we treat.

The clincher here is this: How many of us actually “cure” disease? The answer: Mostly none of us. The pills and procedures we do usually palliate, remediate, or slow progression of disease, but almost none of what we do cures the underlying problem.

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2016 ACC/Merck Fellows Honored During 35th Anniversary Reception

The ACC/Merck Fellowship Program celebrated its 35th anniversary on April 2 during the ACC.16 Merck Awards Reception. This unique program has provided support to four fellows in training (FITs) seeking to launch careers in cardiovascular research. Over the past 35 years, Merck has generously offered almost 200 fellowships.

In selecting applications, proposals addressing cardiovascular disease and cardiometabolic disorders are encouraged, as well as proposals focusing on clinically relevant outcomes as a result of the metabolic syndrome, diabetes or obesity. Preference for one award is given to applicants focusing on disparities of care since despite increased attention to health disparities at the national, state and community levels, relatively little progress has been made in achieving the vision of eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities.

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ACC’s First Leadership Academy Cohort Presents Capstone Projects at ACC.16

This post was authored by Rosanne Nelson, an ACC staff member focused on member leadership development and the facilitator of ACC’s Leadership Academy.

Two years ago, a diverse group of 14 early career and Fellows-in-Training members of the ACC came together as strangers in a room. Each had been appointed to Cohort I of the College’s inaugural Leadership Academy program, the ACC program serves to meet our early career / FIT members where they need to be met, and supports leadership challenges in diverse practice areas. Few in the room during our initial meeting knew what to expect. As the leadership development program facilitator, I too was experiencing this program for the first time, and even upon our first meeting, I was amazed by their thirst for knowledge, and humbled by their admission of wanting to ‘lead better.’ As such, we set off to learn and lead together. Admittedly, the path was not as clear at the start. However, this group was eager, open, and honest about what they needed. Thus, a recipe for success was well underway. Continue reading

Exciting News on TAVR; Tempered by Unanswered Questions

Svensson_LarsThis post was authored by Lars G. Svensson, MBBCH, PhD, FACC, chair of the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH.

There are few procedures that show a benefit for patients relieving symptoms, saving lives, and improving long-term survival as aortic valve replacement (AVR). Indeed, the advent of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) hailed a new era for valve replacement.

In 2001, Alain Cribier, MD, FACC, pioneered human implantation of percutaneous aortic valve replacement via the femoral vein, however this proved to be too high risk. The transapical approach was then implemented with a moderate risk, but shortly thereafter the transfemoral arterial approach was developed with considerably lower mortality although with complications. For example, there was about a 20 percent failure rate from failure to implant, embolization and severe perivalvular regurgitation. Nevertheless, studies in high-risk patients (PARTNER cohort A and PARTNER cohort B) showed excellent outcomes for TAVR with equivalence to open surgery.

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#Cardiology Ontology: Using Hashtags to Improve #CVD Care

This post was authored by R. Jay Widmer, MD, PhD (@DrArgyle);  Carolyn M. Larsen, MD (@carolynmarieMN); Robert A. Harrington, MD, FACC (@HeartBobH); T. Jared Bunch, MD (@TJaredBunch); John P. Erwin, III, MD, FACC (@HeartOTXHeartMD); John M. Mandrola, MD, FACC (@drjohnm); and Farris K. Timimi, MD, FACC (@FarrisTimimi), members of the Cardiovascular Symplur Ontology Project.

Following in the footsteps of several other specialties, cardiology now has a hashtag ontology page dedicated to facilitating social media use for providers and the wider health care community. The aim of the cardiology ontology page is to assemble and disseminate hashtags pertinent to cardiovascular diseases. This enables health care professionals, patients and family members to organize discussions surrounding cardiovascular medicine in an effort to keep the interest of the patient foremost.

We often hear, “Oh it’s so vast and overwhelming, there’s no way I could be on Twitter” when approaching colleagues about a recent fruitful encounter on one of the largest social media platforms in the world. Although cardiology only occupies a small fraction of the over 300 million viewers and billions of tweets generated daily on Twitter, the potential value cardiovascular disease providers can garner and large impact they can have on public health is beyond immense. However, just like any medication or therapy we suggest or prescribe to our patients, social media must be palatable and easily navigated in order to have broad uptake. One means by which this can be accomplished is by codifying a set of terms common in cardiology, and much like our colleagues in oncology, radiation oncology, and recently urology, providing a cardiovascular ontology around which patients and providers can easily identify specific entities within the world of cardiology. Continue reading