I’m a cardiologist who has been studying atrial fibrillation and taking care of patients with AF for 30 years.
Most of the information that patients can access on the internet on AF is biased in one way or another, often slanted to seduce patients into trying the latest technology or drug treatment.
Electrophysiologists are cardiologists who perform AF ablation procedures. Although possible, it is very hard for them not to be biased toward ablation of atrial fibrillation and in particular to the technique that they utilize.
Cardiac surgeons also do procedures to ablate AF and will be biased toward their particular surgical approach.
Pharmaceutical companies make drugs which suppress atrial fibrillation or reduce stroke risk associated with AF. Clearly, they will be biased toward usage of their drugs but it is often hard to sort out what website is actually a front for the pharmaceutical company.
Pharmaceutical companies (and medical device companies) also heavily influence the doctors who publish research on AF and give talks to other doctors on AF. These AF expert doctors often serve on the committees creating guidelines for treatment of AF.
Patients with AF have created informational AF websites on the internet. How can a patient have bias?
A patient is very influenced by their own individual experience of treatment outcomes. For example, if you had an ablation for AF and had no complications and remained off medications and free of AF 5 years later you would be a huge proponent of AF. On the other hand, if you suffered cardiac tamponade as a result of the ablation and required emergency cardiac surgery and the AF returned 6 months later you would be extremely negative about the procedure.
Likewise, since all medications utilized for AF have potentially life threatening side effects, there are a large number of patients who could create websites on AF which emphasized the danger of medical therapy for maintenance of normal rhythm or prevention of strokes.
My goal in this blog will be to report new and old treatment options from an unbiased perspective.
I am not an electrophysiologist but I often refer patients for ablations and I work closely with them every day. I see their results and their biases.
I am not a cardiac surgeon but I use them when appropriate for my patients and I do my best to guide them into doing the right thing during the cardiac operations.
I take no money from any pharmaceutical or medical device company for talks, research or consultation.
My primary goal is what is best for my patients and I’ll report on this blog on issues that effect all patients with AF.