When McMaster University cardiologist Dr. Harriette Van Spall asked her Twitter followers recently to offer topic suggestions for the upcoming Heart Failure Summit, I responded with a suggestion of my own:
“Please please please can we STOP calling this condition heart FAILURE?” .
Emergency physician Dr. Pat Croskerry tells the story of the day he misdiagnosed a patient who was experiencing unstable angina – chest pain caused by coronary artery disease, and often a warning sign of oncoming heart attack. But this is what he’d said before sending that patient home:
“I’m not at all worried about your chest pain. You probably overexerted yourself and strained a muscle. My suspicion that this is coming from your heart is about zero.”
Remember last month when I covered the topic of “stretch pain” in heart patients who have had a coronary stent implanted?
To recap, temporary post-stent stretch pain in the chest is due to the dilation of an artery when a metal stent is being implanted inside that artery, and it typically occurs in about 40 per cent of stent patients.1 A number of you wrote in with some variation of this question: “Is it still stretch pain if it’s happening months afterwards?”
Several years ago, when the British Medical Association openly warned U.K. docs and med students NOT to make “personal or derogatory comments”online about their patients (guidelines mercifully updated since then), I became even more alarmed than I had been. Why, I wondered at the time, was it even necessary to issue this warning to intelligent, educated brainiacs who practice medicine? And are there some physicians who should simply not be allowed on social media?