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

Helping Congress Transform Cardiovascular Care

This post was authored by Michelle Hadley, DO, a fellow in training at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, MA.

I have always wanted to be impactful. In October, I attended ACC’s 2015 Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. We met with our representatives on the House side, as well as with our senators. Unfortunately at that time, my district congressman was not in DC. Therefore, I took it upon myself to schedule a meeting in Worcester, MA, to meet with him.

Rep. Jim McGovern’s (D-MA) office was a big, open floor plan. All the side doors were open and every turn seemed to be greeted with a smiling face. Before I had time to completely take off my coat, the congressman walked out to introduce himself and extended his hand with a pleasant smile.  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

Changing the Conversation: A Unique Approach to Legislative Practice Visits

This article was authored by Edward J. Toggart, MD, FACC, governor of the ACC Oregon Chapter.

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), who is a veterinarian by trade and is in his 4th term in Congress. He currently serves on the House Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee. He also previously served as a member of the non-partisan Congressional Arts Caucus and was heavily involved in the repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR).

I was contacted by ACC’s Grassroots Advocacy manager about an opportunity for Rep. Schrader to make a practice visit. After accepting the offer, I immediately began thinking about how to best approach the visit, including how to communicate the critical issues facing the cardiology community. Continue reading

Making Progress in Social Media and Medicine: Engagement at ACC.16

Campbell headshotThis post was authored by Kevin R. Campbell, MD, FACC, assistant professor of medicine, University of North Carolina, division of cardiology, and a presenter at ACC.16.

I was amazed by the uptick in Social media engagement at ACC.16. While 75 percent of all fortune 500 companies are represented and active on twitter, doctors have been quite slow to enter into the social media space. Many of us have who have pioneered social media in medicine have often felt like Dr. Sisyphus as we push the “Social Boulder” up the hill in order to show our colleagues the value of digital engagement. However, it appears that finally the tide is turning.

From the very outset of the meeting the hashtag #ACC16 began trending. Just in time for the annual sessions, the ACC recently created and published a Cardiology Hashtag Ontology reference guide in order to bring together the broad topics within cardiovascular disease so that common subjects of discussion can be easily identified, searched and catalogued. Continue reading

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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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

First Time Here? What the ACC’s Annual Scientific Session is ‘REALLY’ About

This Freemanpost was authored by Andrew Freeman, MD, FACC (@heartcuredoc)

You may not believe this, but there is a secret to the ACC’s Annual Scientific Session that you may not know. In addition to learning about and seeing all of the latest and greatest tools, medicines, techniques and procedures – not to mention being in the audience for late-breaking clinical trial results – there is something about physically being at the meeting that you can’t experience anywhere else.

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