Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University recently spent thousands of hours investigating “low value” care and “medical reversals.” Basically, these are accepted medical practices that are found through randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to be of no benefit—or even harmful to the patient. When a “medical reversal” occurs, it means the science finally catches up to a standard, accepted practice and throws the procedure out.
And according to this thorough analysis, one medical specialty reigned supreme when it came to these troubling trends.
If you’ve been following my Daily Dispatches for a while, you probably already know which medical specialty has this abominable track record…
It’s cardiology, of course.
I often warn you about the disastrous, wrong-headed advice regularly doled out by cardiologists. In fact, as I’ve reported before, 92 percent of the recommendations made by cardiologists (and backed the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association) aren’t supported by solid, scientific evidence.
For example, the cholesterol myth for heart disease has been crumbling for years. Indeed, a wealth of evidence confirms that statin drugs lower cholesterol, but they don’t improve death rates—the ultimate litmus test for any kind of treatment. Plus, they cause a whole host of other health problems. Yet, cardiologists still dole these drugs out like candy, despite the science.
Plus, even when cardiologists put down their prescription pads and make dietary recommendations to their patients with heart disease, they get that advice all wrong too!
And to make matters worse, most clinical trials that test new drugs and procedures don’t even include older patients—you know, the people most likely to actually have heart disease and who would actually need the treatments being tested (if only they were safe and effective).
So, in my view, it’s no wonder cardiologists have the worst “batting average.” They make careers out of it!
Too much zero value care and too many “medical reversals”
For the new analysis, researchers looked at more than 3,000 RCTs published between 2003 and 2017 in the three leading medical journals: the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, and the New England Journal of Medicine. They identified nearly 400 studies of common, accepted medical practices that are now identified as “medical reversals” and have been thrown out of the toolbox, so to speak.
These reversals happened in many areas of health and medicine. But cardiology topped the list, followed by public health (think faulty dietary recommendations and blaming just tobacco only for all lung diseases) and critical care (think Emergency Room and Intensive Care treatments).
All the cardiology reversals took up fully 400 pages in the new analysis. And most of the reversed practices had become established in cardiology based upon weak evidence in the first place—such as a flawed RCTs, single-center studies, observational data, or “expert” opinion.
Four of the biggest cardiology blunders, among many
The following four procedures are now removed from most practices:
1.) Automatic chest compression for CPR
These machines deliver automated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). And for a while, they had become commonplace in hospitals and for use by emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics.
Years ago, a few EMTs and paramedics that I know already questioned the safety of these monstrous, violent machines. But cardiologists ignored them. That is, until two large, controlled trials showed the devices to be dangerous. In fact, these trials linked the devices with worsened neurological outcomes compared to CPR delivered by manual compression.
But BEWARE—many municipal emergency transport teams still stock these devices on ambulances…even years after this “medical reversal.”
2.) Ablation for atrial fibrillation
For many years, cardiologists used a procedure called “ablation” to treat atrial fibrillation (AF), a condition when part of the heart muscle doesn’t contract, leading to arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat), and blood clots. The procedure worked by scarring or destroying heart tissue to disrupt the faulty electrical signals causing the arrhythmia. But studies show ablation of the heart tissue does not improve symptoms in people with persistent AF.
3.) Balloon pumps inserted into the aorta
These balloon pumps were commonly used to help patients in shock. But when actual studies were finally finished, there was no evidence this invasive procedure provided any benefit. Yet medical device makers are still trying to push new contraptions based on this failed approach. So again, beware.
4.) Dissolving “scaffold” stents
Cardiologists placed these disappearing stents inside blood vessels to expand narrowed arteries caused by buildup of plaque. The body eventually reabsorbs the material, like it does certain types of sutures.
But once again, the science eventually caught up to this procedure. And clinical trials showed that the dissolving stents are inferior to sturdy metallic stents…and also quite harmful. So, don’t let a cardiologist make you mount this scaffold.
Confirming my convictions about cardiology
Cardiologists should never have put these procedures into practice before having the data to confirm they actually work…and, more importantly, that they don’t cause harm.
But they didn’t wait.
Cardiologists as a group are so enamored with new, costly, unproven technologies and therapies, as stated by the new report, that they often just barrel ahead without the science to support their actions.
But these revelations just confirm my longstanding conviction that cardiology is one of the worst, least scientific, and ultimately most dangerous of all medical specialties.
So, if you’re at risk of heart disease or currently managing diagnosed heart disease, you would do well to stay away from cardiologists, their cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, and their harmful, aggressive, costly, high-tech treatments with all the bells and whistles.
We now know that these cardiology “bells and whistles” were actually warning bells and traffic whistles—screaming “stop!”
Instead, I recommend getting your care from a general, internal medicine physician who is sensible, conservative, and doesn’t need to use failed, screwy, high-tech machines!
Try finding someone who is also familiar with all the natural approaches to preventing and reversing heart disease. Because the real science shows that natural and nutritional approaches support the cardiac muscle, reduce inflammation, and stimulate healthy blood circulation—none of which are included in the crony, corporatist cardiology recommendations.
You can learn more about all the ways to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, without resorting to harmful drugs and procedures, in my Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. To learn more, or to enroll today, click here now! And be sure to tune back in tomorrow for my important report on how to lower blood pressure without resorting to harmful drugs.
P.S. As promised, you’ll be the first to hear about the launch of my brand new Breathe Better Lung Health Protocol! This innovative online learning tool discusses all of the newest, most natural ways to strengthen your lungs to protect you from lung disease—America’s third most lethal killer! So be sure to keep your eye out for an email outlining all of the details…coming soon!
“Is Cardiology Overly Enamored of New Unproven Therapies?” Medscape, 7/12/2019 (medscape.com/viewarticle/915481)