Listen to your heart – my response to ABC TV’s Catalyst program

Genevieve's anthology

In the last fortnight or so, there has been a lot of talk about the two part Catalyst special on cholesterol and statin medications. The Heart of the Matter aired on the 24th and 31st October on ABC TV  and received widespread publicity in both the mainstream and medical press. Despite currently being on leave from clinical work, I’ve been approached my numerous concerned friends and non-medical colleagues asking for my opinion on the issues raised. In my role as a medical educator, I’ve had an enquiry or two from somewhat confused registrars wanting to know what to say to their worried patients.

Now this is not a bad thing in itself. Increasing public awareness of important health issues, transparency and rigorous independent scrutiny of established scientific “facts” are vitally important.  Like many others, I abhor the tendency to over-medicalise, and the increasing pressure from many sources to over-diagnose and to…

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3 thoughts on “Listen to your heart – my response to ABC TV’s Catalyst program

  1. Overall I thought it was quite refreshing. I take Genevieve’s point that it was sensationalised but all news is and it is all the more cringeworthy when it is a topic you know. But I guess that is how they get people to watch. I don’t think I would be able to get through a prime time show that went through the methodology of the Framingham study.

    Personally I look forward to the discussion with patients on the issue of statins, particularly in primary prevention where most of these medications are used. Statins don’t make this group live longer and they will still die at the same time of a non-cardiac death… I reckon that is a pretty hard sell and I know I wouldn’t take them.

    To quote Prof Montage ‘heart disease gives you the wonderful gift of sudden death’ see http://www.profmontage.com.au, ‘statins in the elderly’

    Secondary prevention = need a statin
    Primary prevention = don’t need a statin (but if there is a concerning family history or any other suggestion of atheroma maybe they need a CTCA to further stratify their risk?…There’s an even more interesting can of worms. Maybe the Gruen Transfer could do that one…

    Daryl

  2. And of course my first patient today was a chap with ischemic heart disease whose statin is now giving him leg pain… He is still taking it due to a combination of patient centred education and blackmail.

  3. Pingback: FOAM4GP Map – To Statin or not to Statin? – That is the question. | FOAM4GP

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