Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Do cardiologists practice what they preach?

A new study surveyed all cardiologists in a large coalition of cardiology groups. A 1-page, 25-item anonymous questionnaire containing was used. Data from returned questionnaires were analyzed and compared with those in national databases.

Eight hundred surveys were sent, and complete data were available for analysis on 471 (59%).


  • The average body mass index (BMI) was 25 and 8% were obese BMI >/= 30;
  • 1.3% were active smokers;
  • 89% exercised >/=1 time/week;
  • 72% had >/=1 alcoholic drink/week. Red wine was the most frequently consumed alcoholic beverage;
  • Cardiovascular risks included dyslipidemia (28%), hypertension (14%), and diabetes mellitus (0.6%);
  • Four percent had experienced coronary events;
  • Compared with matched cohorts from the United States population, cardiologists reported lower rates of hypertension, dyslipidemia, and diabetes mellitus, and the rates of smoking and obesity were 1/18 and 1/3 those of the US population, respectively;
  • Aspirin and statins were each taken daily by about 1/3 of the participants.
  • A cardiologist with dyslipidemia was 5 times as likely to be treated and a cardiologist with hypertension was almost twice as likely to be treated as an American adult man with either of these disorders, respectively.

In conclusion, cardiologists appear to follow healthier lifestyles than the general adult US population.

Of course, people who tend to be healthier will more likely respond to these surveys, however they were anonymous responses, and they still had a pretty good number of returns. So, I'll take it with a grain of salt, but it's still nice to see that they practice what they preach.

Oh, and I still want THE specialist, a cardiologist, to listen to my heart.

Accoding to a new study, cardiologists are better than medical students, residents, and other practicing physicians at performing a bedside heart examination and in accurately identifying abnormal heart sounds, according to the findings of two studies reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

A total of 100 patients were each evaluated by an internal medicine intern, internal medicine resident, cardiology fellow, and cardiology attending. Their results were compared against those obtained by a phonocardiographic device, a machine that listens to and analyzes heart sounds.

Only the results obtained by cardiology fellows and attendings showed significant agreement with the phonocardiographic results. Moreover, the third heart sounds (the presence of a third heart sound often indicates important heart disease that requires further workup) identified by cardiology fellows and attending were better than those detected by residents and interns in distinguishing various heart abnormalities.


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