Cardiologists Report $325,000 Median Compensation in Survey

piggy bank

Cardiologists were the third highest paid physician specialists in 2010, according to a survey of more than 15,000 physicians conducted by Medscape, including a detailed report on the approximately 475 cardiologists in the survey. The cardiologists reported a median compensation of $325,000. Only orthopedic surgeons and radiologists, at $350,000, topped the cardiologists. One-fifth of cardiologists…

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Large Meta-Analysis Finds No Link Between ARBs and Risk Of MI

Angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) don’t increase the risk of MI, according to a very large new meta-analysis published in BMJ. The concern about ARBs and MI have lingered since the VALUE trial in 2004 found a 19% increase in the risk of MI, though subsequent trials have not reinforced the finding….

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Scientific Fraud Found In Wayne Alexander’s Research Group At Emory

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Scientific fraud has been discovered in three papers from Wayne Alexander’s research group at Emory. As first reported on Retraction Watch, two papers in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology  and one paper in Circulation Research have been retracted by the journals after being notified by the Emory University Office of Research Compliance following an investigation by the Emory…

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Drug-Eluting Stents Add $1.5 Billion Per Year To Medicare Costs

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Drug-eluting stents (DESs) cost Medicare an additional $1.57 billion per year, according to a study published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Using a random sample of Medicare beneficiaries, Peter Groeneveld and colleagues compared annual costs for patients with coronary artery disease in 2002 (the year before DESs were introduced) to costs in the…

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Third Generation Paclitaxel-Eluting Platinum Chromium Coronary Stent Approved in US

Ion stent

Boston Scientific said today that it had received FDA approval for a third generation drug-eluting stent, the ION Paclitaxel-Eluting Platinum Chromium Coronary Stent System. The “unique platinum chromium (PtCr) alloy” is specifically designed for use in the coronary arteries. An article in the Wall Street Journal points out that commercial expectations for the new stent…

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ACC & AHA Publish Expert Consensus Document On Hypertension In The Elderly

Although 64% of elderly men and 78% of elderly women have hypertension, hypertension in the elderly was not considered a significant clinical problem until 2008, when the Hypertension in the Very Elderly Trial (HYVET) trial demonstrated the substantial benefits of reducing blood pressure in these patients. Largely in response to HYVET, the ACC and the…

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Tracking Doctors’ Movements… And Prescriptions

Editor’s Note: The following excerpt from the blog of Dr. Westby Fisher, an electrophysiologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, IL, is reprinted with permission. Fisher was the first to discover and comment upon the use of RFID tags at the ACC meeting earlier this month. Click here for my  perspective on RFID badges at…

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Mark Midei Gives A Preview Of His Defense

Mark Midei, the embattled Maryland interventional cardiologist, has finally spoken. After more than a year of intense controversy and criticism, Midei has presented a preview of his defense in a commentary published by the Baltimore Sun. Midei writes that he will soon appear before the Maryland Board of Physicians where “I will have the long-awaited…

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The Impossible Dream: A Scientific Committee Free Of Conlicts Of Interest

Editor’s Note: The following guest post, by Allan Brett, the director of the General Internal Medicine division at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and editor-in-chief of Journal Watch General Medicine, is reprinted with permission from CardioExchange, the cardiology social media website published by the New England Journal of Medicine. The post is…

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CDC: Half The US Now Protected By Comprehensive Smoke-Free Laws

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According to the CDC, nearly half the US population is now protected from second-hand smoke by comprehensive laws that restrict smoking in 3 venues (private sector worksites, restaurants, and bars). If the current trend continues, all 50 states and the District of Columbia will be smoke-free by 2020. The first law prohibiting indoor smoking was…

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New WHI Analysis Links Calcium Supplements To CV Risk

A new study may renew concerns that the combination of calcium supplements and vitamin D might increase cardiovascular risk. The linkage has been proposed before, but the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) found no additional risk. However, in an article appearing in BMJ, Mark Bolland and colleagues point out that more than half the 36,000 women…

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$50K: The Price For A VIP Dinner For 2 With The Cleveland Clinic CEO

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Want to have dinner with Delos Cosgrove, the cardiac surgeon who’s the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic? Just sign up for a platinum sponsorship of the Cleveland Clinic’s 2011 Medical Innovation Summit and you’ll receive an invitation “to attend the private VIP dinner hosted by Cleveland Clinic CEO & President, Delos Cosgrove, MD.” The cost…

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Non-Evidence Based ICD Implants: The Debate Continues

A controversial study published earlier this year in JAMA that found that nearly a quarter of all ICD implantations did not meet evidence-based criteria is the subject of further debate this week in the letters section of JAMA….

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100 Is The New 150: AHA Lowers Optimal Triglyceride Level

In a newly released scientific statement on triglycerides, the AHA recommends that 100 mg/dL replace 150 mg/dL as the upper limit for the “optimal level” for triglycerides. But, the statement acknowledges, the cut point should not be used as a therapeutic target for drug therapy, “because there is insufficient evidence that lowering triglyceride levels” can…

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Evidence: The Weak Link Of Evidence-Based Medicine

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Evidence-based medicine is a great idea– except for the evidence part. In a powerful op-ed piece in the Boston Globe, Sylvia Pagán Westphal makes the seemingly obvious point that “evidence-based medicine is only as strong as the evidence used to support it. The stark reality is that evidence can be weak, biased, or even fraudulent.”…

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FDA Offers Cautious Support For Olmesartan (Benicar)

The FDA announced today that it had reviewed the results of the ROADMAP and ORIENT trials and had determined that the benefits of olmesartan (Benicar, Daiichi Sankyo) “continue to outweigh its potential risks” when used as indicated for the treatment of high blood pressure. In June 2010 the FDA had announced that it was conducting…

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FDA Officials Offer Explanation For Absence of Low Dose Dabigatran

Following the approval last October of dabigatran some observers  criticized the FDA’s decision not to approve the lower 110 mg dose of the drug in addition to the higher 150 mg dose. Now, in a perspective in the New England Journal of Medicine, 3 FDA officials, B. Nhi Beasley, Ellis Unger, and Robert Temple, explain…

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NY Times Magazine: Sugar Is Not So Sweet

sweet sunday

You may want to skip your Sunday sweet this week. On Sunday the New York Times magazine section will publish a major assault on sugar by the veteran and often controversial journalist Gary Taubes. In a long and detailed feature article, Taubes outlines the case for the prosecution against sugar, along with its nearly identical…

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Increasing Disparity Found In Stroke Mortality In Europe And Central Asia

The difference in stroke mortality among countries in Europe and Central Asia is large and, somewhat surprisingly, is growing larger, according to a new analysis of data from the World Health Organization….

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Particle Trap Reduces Harmful Diesel Emissions

A commonly available particle trap can dramatically reduce harmful emissions from diesel engines and may prevent adverse cardiovascular effects from the emissions, according to a new study published in Circulation. In a randomized, double-blind, three-way crossover trial, Andrew Lucking and colleagues compared the effects of filtered air to diesel air with or without a particle…

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2 Studies Try To Improve Risk Prediction For Kidney Disease Progression

Two papers presented at the World Congress of Nephrology and simultaneously published online in JAMA raise hope for better tools to calculate the risk of developing kidney failure, but the techniques are not yet ready for clinical use, according to an accompanying editorial….

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Phentermine/Topiramate Combination Yields Significant Weight Loss

Updated– The experimental diet drug combination of phentermine and topiramate demonstrated “robust efficacy” in  CONQUER, a large new trial published online in the Lancet. The results of the trial follow a year in which the FDA turned down 3 new investigational diet drugs (including Qnexa, the phentermine and topiramate combination used here) and removed the…

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ACC Satellites: Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss?

The announcement by the ACC that it will eliminate the “current model of satellite symposia” has provoked a wide range of responses, although at this point no one knows exactly what the new model will look like. One  cardiologist who has often been critical of the college warned that the announcement is “NOT what it…

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Harlem Hospital’s Former Chief Of Cardiology Sues New York City

The former chief cardiologist at the New York hospital where more than 4,000 echocardiograms went unread is suing the city, according to a report in the Daily News. Icilma Fergus was the chief of cardiology last May at Harlem Hospital when a report in the New York Times about the unread echocardiograms sparked a scandal. Fergus was…

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Big Brother, Err, The ACC, Is Watching You

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It didn’t feel creepy, but in fact the ACC, and anyone else it wanted to share the information with, was watching our every move in the convention center during the scientific sessions. Credit the indefatigable electrophysiologist, Westby Fisher for peeking behind the curtain. Or, in this case, ripping apart his ACC congress badge. Here’s what…

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