What Cardiologists Read in 2017

Tricia Ward


January 24, 2018

Top Perspectives

In 2017, the most read perspective among our cardiologist audience was one that posted in November 2016. The commentary Left Atrial Appendage Closure Should Stop Now, by John Mandrola, MD, led to a response from the principal investigator of the PREVAIL trial.

Both Mandrola[1] and Vivek Reddy, MD,[2] repeated their arguments in the pages of Heart Rhythm. A follow-up on why Mandrola remains unconvinced by the longer-term data on the Watchman device was among the top 10 feature articles read by US and international cardiologists.

Our specialist audiences typically favor news and features in their specialty over other topics, but US cardiologists made an exception for a commentary on whether pornography is a public health problem. It was their most read commentary posted in 2017.

Cardiologists from elsewhere around the globe stayed true to their profession, and only cardio-themed articles made their top 10 most read features. A psychiatrist's letter to a medical student on choosing a specialty was their most read noncardiology perspective.

What about US physicians who are not cardiologists? A rebuttal of the American Heart Association (AHA) position on saturated fats was the most widely read cardio-themed commentary for them; it made it into the top 20 for US and international cards (ranking 19 and 15, respectively).

Statins and the lipid hypothesis remain third-rail topics for our readers. A pharmacist's take on the role of vitamin D in statin-related myalgia was one of the most widely read cardiology articles among US physicians in general, and it featured in the top 10 cardio-related articles for US and international cardiologists.

Top News and News Alerts

Cardiologists worldwide united in making the news alert on the early termination of the COMPASS trial on rivaroxaban in patients with coronary and peripheral arterial disease their most widely read cardiology news story.

US physicians were more interested in reading about the new American College of Cardiology (ACC)/AHA hypertension guidelines. The curiosity of non-American cards was also piqued by new hypertension guidelines—but somewhat surprisingly, it was news about those from the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) that ranked as their second most read news story of 2017. Despite criticism of the AAFP guidelines released in January, the organization stood their ground and refused to endorse the ACC/AHA guideline.

Regular Contributors

Sticking to articles that posted in calendar year 2017, the most popular column by Mandrola was a rant against relative value units. It was also his most read column by US physicians in general. International cardiologists preferred his commentary on the first randomized trial of chronic total occlusion intervention.

The most popular Bob Harrington Show podcast was his interview with former US Food and Drug Administration commissioner Robert Califf, MD; this topped the list for US physicians in general as well as US and international cards.

For the Heartfelt series by Melissa Walton-Shirley, MD, her plea to John Mellencamp to quit smoking was the most popular 2017 column with US physicians in general. True to form, the cardiologists preferred To Be or Not to Be a Cardiologist.

Michelle O'Donoghue, MD's Personal Journey to a Plant-Based Diet was her most popular video with international cards and US physicians regardless of specialty.

Physicians also united in making Ileana Piña, MD's interview with Gaetano De Ferrari, MD, PhD, on the digoxin substudy of the ARISTOTLE trial her most popular contribution for 2017, and one of the top 10 features of the year.

A review on the dos and don'ts of direct-acting oral anticoagulants was the top video from the Mayo Clinic for US physicians and cardiologists worldwide.

Eric Topol, MD, conducted eight one-on-one interviews in 2017, and the one with "heart disease" in the title was the most popular with US cardiologists. This was despite the fact that guest Sekar Kathiresan, MD, discussed genomics—a topic dear to the Medscape editor-in-chief, but usually a hard sell to our audience. Other US physicians preferred Dr Topol's interview with Moneyball author Michael Lewis .

Business of Medicine and Bad Doctors

Speaking of money, the most popular business of medicine article among US physicians, including cardiologists, explained why some doctors earn more in the same specialty.

Whether it's schadenfreude or prurient interest, physicians love reading about crooked colleagues. Doctors Named to 'Fraud Hall of Shame' was the next most read broad-based article among US cards. In contrast, the global cards were more interested in an article on whether physicians should be exempt from airline bumping, prompted by the viral news story of United Airlines dragging David Dao, MD, off an overbooked flight in April.

Top Slideshows

Continuing the theme of remuneration: The Medscape Physician Compensation Report, the cardiologist breakout, and even the young physicians report were among the top Medscape slideshows viewed by US cardiologists in 2017.

Perhaps not surprisingly, international cardiologists were less interested in how much their American counterparts got paid. Their favorite slideshow was on 11 Drugs You Should Seriously Consider Deprescribing.

What will make the list in 2018? Watch this space. Happy New Year.

Editor's Note: Rankings are for physicians registered on theheart.org | Medscape and are based on readership from December 1, 2016 through November 30, 2017 for articles posted between November 1, 2016 and November 30, 2017.

Follow Tricia Ward on Twitter: @_triciaward

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