Narcissus does not fall in love with his reflection b/c it is beautiful, but b/c it is his.

"Narcissus" by Caravaggio, 1598-1599
Image source: Web Gallery of Art
Twentieth Century English poet W.H. Auden alludes to the Greek mythological figure, Narcissus, who’s self-pride allows him to become mesmerized by the beauty of his own reflection in a wading pool. Auden reminds us that human nature is far more intrigued by that which impacts us personally, rather than innate beauty. In reflecting upon these concepts and the top-read stories on in 2011, the diversity of interests among our readers clearly emerges as a trend—as the stories span the panoply of cardiac specialties and interests.

Our top-read story revolves around the popular field of percutaneous valvular therapies, as a potential replacement for surgery in certain high-risk patient populations. Specifically, our article on transcatheter aortic valve implantations, published in the April issue of the magazine, prior to the results of the PARTNER trial at TCT10, sought to asses clinical, ethical and financial questions that need to be addressed before this therapy becomes a standard part of clinical practice in the U.S.

Now that the PARTNER trial and its quality-of-life results have been reported, our cover story in February 2011 will seek to examine some residual practice management questions, as well as how real-life clinical practice in Europe can inform U.S. decisions.

Those practitioners who treat the burgeoning atrial fibrillation patient population were eager to have a better drug to decrease the risk of stroke — and they got an answer with the approval of Pradaxa in September. While increased cost to the patient may be the great inhibitor to widespread adoption, the potential suspension of lab monitoring, which is a requirement with warfarin, may result in decreased costs to the healthcare system, as well as an added convenience for the patient—as our January 2011 magazine feature will explore.

In the interventional cardiology realm, several stories piqued the interests of our readers—both dealing with new techniques. One web exclusive focuses on the benefits of the transradial approach for PCI procedures and its increasing use in U.S. practices, with Dr. Sunil V. Rao discussing the inner workings of his practice at Duke. Also, the ever-elusive topic of next-generation drug-eluting stents garnered much interest, with the various industry players discussing their pipeline products in our July issue of the magazine.

Finally, with our publication’s leanings toward practice management angles, we have extensively covered the quickening trend of cardiovascular practices integrating with hospitals due to deepening reimbursement cuts. Cardiovascular Business hosted a roundtable discussion with three hospital execs, one physician and one attorney consultant, who had undergone at least one integration to elucidate the process.
If Narcissus is the appropriate analogy, and this list reflects what is of personal interest to our readers, then the diversity of concentration should be noted. As the year gallops toward a conclusion, people tend to be more reflective of such things, but keep in mind Auden’s words: All that we are not stares back at what we are.

On these topics, or any others, feel free to contact me.

Have a healthy and happy holiday season.

Thank you kindly for your readership,
Justine Cadet