Coronary stents: interventions that come with a cost

by Carolyn Thomas       @HeartSisters

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.  A number of you wrote in with some variation of this question: “Is it still stretch pain if it’s happening months afterwards?”

And now a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology  suggests that something entirely different might be going on.2 .      .      , Continue reading “Coronary stents: interventions that come with a cost”

Dear Doctor – here’s why we need you on social media

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters

Dear Doctor,

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?

Lately, I’ve been rethinking my former alarm. And the reason for the rethink is this: I’ve noticed that many of you physicians might be in danger of abdicating your traditional role as our medical educators.     .      . Continue reading “Dear Doctor – here’s why we need you on social media”

ISCHEMIA study: that blockage isn’t a time bomb in your chest

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters  

If you’re a heart patient living with stable angina, the ISCHEMIA clinical trial presented last weekend at the 2019 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions is all about you. Cardiologist Dr. John Mandrola described the impact of this study in his Medscape column like this:

CARDIOLOGY CHANGES TODAY!”      .

But realistically, does one study have the power to actually change the practice of cardiology?      .
Continue reading “ISCHEMIA study: that blockage isn’t a time bomb in your chest”

Please! No more bragging about mountain climbing!

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

One of the things I love most about writing this blog is hearing directly from my readers. I already knew that Heart Sisters attracts the smartest, funniest, and wisest readers ever, of course, but this comment from Charlotte in response to one of my articles really struck a chord for me. I’ve written before about this particular issue (i.e. why trotting out all those “inspiring” survivors to talk about their amazing post-recovery achievements can actually leave me feeling not so much inspired, but inadequate). Here’s how she says it so much better (Thank you, Charlotte!):        .         . Continue reading “Please! No more bragging about mountain climbing!”

The myth of the heart disease cure

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

So a bunch of us, all heart disease survivors, were enjoying breakfast together one morning in Rochester, Minnesota. One of the women at our table looked up from her coffee and announced that, yes, even though she had survived a heart attack and subsequent open heart surgery, she didn’t really have heart disease anymore “you know, like the rest of you do.”

I looked at her and replied, in my most charitable tone:

“Honey, nobody gets invited to attend the WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium for Women With Heart Disease here at Mayo Clinic unless they actually have, you know, heart disease.” 

Her attitude of denial, I was to learn later, is not uncommon.
Continue reading “The myth of the heart disease cure”

This is your heart (my Heart Month interview)

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by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

Heart Month (aka February) typically means a flurry of once-a-year media attention to the important subject of women’s heart health, so I like to take advantage of as many interview requests as I can every February.  Strike while the iron’s hot!  Make hay while the sun shines! Drink the glass of wine while it’s sitting right in front of you!  Okay, that last rule I just made up…

One such interview request this year was from Media Planet’s 2016 Cardiovascular Health Campaign launched by Canada’s National Post newspaper and online. Here’s the text of that interview with Taylor Mihail of Media Planet. Continue reading “This is your heart (my Heart Month interview)”