“You can lead a cardiologist to water but, apparently, you cannot make him drink”

When it comes to interventional cardiology – that’s using balloon angioplasty* and metal stents to open up blocked coronary arteries – it seems that medical evidence is still taking a back seat to doctors’ deeply ingrained practice patterns. Case in point, a warning from the health journalism watchdogs at Health Beat:

“Even though many well-designed clinical studies conclude that drug therapy alone can reduce the risk of heart attack and death in people with stable coronary artery disease just as well as more expensive invasive procedures, many cardiologists continue to use interventions like propping open blocked arteries with costly stents instead of first trying medication.”

Or, as the Los Angeles Times put it in a piece called Cardiologists Rush to Angioplasty Despite Evidence for Value of Drugs:

“You can lead a cardiologist to water but, apparently, you cannot make him drink.”  Continue reading

Stent-happy docs on notice in Maryland health care fraud debate

Mark Midei, then

For over a year, The Baltimore Sun has been following the federal investigation of Dr. Mark Midei, a Maryland cardiologist who is charged with implanting unneeded heart stents after being influenced by the stent maker, Abbott Laboratories. The Maryland legislature is now considering a ban on gifts to all physicians from medical companies.

Here’s how The Sun summarizes the latest news  in this health care fraud case:  Continue reading