Blog

In the Blog, experts discuss cardiology topics and consider interesting cases with educational value and teaching points. Evidence-based articles offer lessons on ECG tracings, from basic topics to advanced findings. Fresh insight is continually added, so be sure to check back often.

Block Party – ECG Case #5

September 19, 2017

A 68-year-old male with no past medical history besides morbid obesity comes to the office complaining of fatigue and shortness of breath. He does not feel dizzy and has never passed out. He takes…

Classic Catch - ECG Case #3

September 12, 2017

What a classic ECG case not usually caught on a 12-lead ECG! A progression of 4 ECGs here helps to teach one the most important ECG lessons any practicing healthcare professional needs to know in…

Think Again…ECG Case #1

August 22, 2017

Here is a case I will never forget. A 45 year old man with reported no prior medical history comes in to the ER screaming of excruciating acute onset substernal chest pains 20 minutes prior to…

"Eye Popping" Atrial Fibrillation

July 5, 2017

Not your typical atrial fibrillation case walking through the ER door today. Hold on to your eyeballs for this case with two major teaching points. A 38 year old obese but otherwise healthy male…

5 Things Needed to be a Good Cardiologist or Clinician

June 11, 2017

To become a cardiologist is not an easy task. Getting through medical school, residency and then getting accepted into the most competitive fellowship program out there is tough. All cardiologists…

Coronary Calcium Score - No Doctor's Order?

May 18, 2017

Coronary calcium scoring (CCS) is arguably the best method to screen for coronary artery disease. The most interesting part of this test is the direct to consumer advertising that occurs to the…

Statins: Not the Cure for Heart Disease

May 8, 2017

Right now, 40 million Americans take statins to lower cholesterol in an attempt to prevent complications of atherosclerosis such as heart disease and stroke. Despite this, heart disease is still the…

Left Anterior Fascicular Block: Who Cares?

April 26, 2017

We see this all the time: A routine ECG shows a left anterior fascicular block (also known as LAFB or left anterior hemiblock). Who cares? Does this mean anything, and is it any cause for concern?…

Talk to Patients, 'Turn Off The Faucet'

March 28, 2017

It is important for us, as health care providers, to sometimes pause and reflect on the way we each practice medicine. In our busy lives, it is a challenge to completely address all the needs of

The Little Known Fatal Rhythm

February 8, 2017

A 60-year-old male comes in complaining of cough, increasing severe shortness of breath and palpitations for 3 days. He has a mild chest pressure as well. His heart rate is 120 beats per minute

Will You Make A Fatal Mistake?

July 26, 2016

There will be a handful of times in your career when you will be faced with a challenging medical scenario, and decisions that can mean life or death for the patient must be made quickly. Here is one…

68 causes of T wave, ST segment abnormalities

June 20, 2016

How often do you see an ECG that is just a little off? Maybe the T wave is flat, oddly-shaped or inverted. Maybe the ST segment is coved, very minimally-depressed or shows some J point elevation. …

Cardiology Case: A Hole in One

March 15, 2016

Here is a tricky case. Try to guess the diagnosis of this previously healthy 5-year-old male who starts to complain of difficulty breathing over the past 2 weeks. He used to be able to play with his…

An Atrial Fibrillation Spiel - Three-Must Ask Questions

May 1, 2015

Atrial fibrillation is extraordinarily common, and I see it an insane number of times. I have organized a set spiel to explain to patients how we deal with this annoying arrhythmia…

Beware the Frozen Heart - ECG Case #4

April 11, 2015

Here is a case dedicated to my daughter Kaylin who turned 4 today! A previously healthy 18 year old female comes in being carried by a funny looking little round white guy with an orange pointy…

The Donkey Analogy for Congestive Heart Failure Treatment

March 20, 2015

What does a donkey have in common with the pathophysiology and treatment of congestive heart failure? More than you might imagine actually. Here is how I like to explain how the medical treatment of…

Crazy Heart Symptoms - Some Unusual Angina Presentations

February 8, 2015

During my cardiology career, I have run into some quite interesting scenarios of patients presenting with angina in rather unusual ways. This is no joke. These are real patient scenarios that I have…

Top 5 MI ECG Patterns You Must Know

September 1, 2014

Identifying an acute myocardial infarction on the 12-lead ECG is the most important thing you can learn in ECG interpretation. Time is muscle when treating heart attacks. Missing a ST segment…

The Rise of the Coronary CT Angiogram

June 4, 2014

Stress tests are a thing of the past. Make way for coronary CT angiography. Wide-eyed medical students might gather around a treadmill in 20 years to observe a patient doing a traditional stress…

Two for the Price of One - ECG Case #2

March 15, 2014

Here is a nifty ECG case with two unreleated, but interesting findings on one ECG tracing. One life-threatening diagnosis and the other a rare incidental finding leading to heart failure in this…

Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy: My Broken Heart Syndrome Experience

March 13, 2014

Ever hear of someone dying from a broken heart? Well...the “broken heart syndrome” a.k.a. “Takotsubo cardiomyopathy” or “stress induced cardiomyopathy” or…

Cardiac Physical Exam...A Waste of Time?

March 6, 2014

Is the death of the stethoscope near? Why do we even listen to the heart anyway now that we have portable echocardiography? Is it a waste of time? When I was in training to become a cardiologist, I…

Statins are Antibiotics…is THAT the Pleiotropic Effect?

March 6, 2014

Statins have pleiotropic effects...the ability to reduce heart disease risk and cardiovascular death via an unknown mechanism, certainly beyond the LDL cholesterol lowering that they can achieve…

50 Cardiology Pimp Questions

March 5, 2014

As a medical student rounding on the wards, you might happen to have one of those cardiology attendings who gets some evil pleasure out of asking questions randomly to students ― commonly known as…

10 Steps to Assess Volume Status in Congestive Heart Failure

March 5, 2014

Thinking back to being a student, I can recall the struggle ― volume status and fluid overload. Congestive heart failure is the number one cause of hospital admission in the United States, so we…

10 Steps to Learn ECG Interpretation

March 4, 2014

Learning the art of ECG interpretation requires intellect, commitment, effort and — perhaps most importantly — an organized approach. I personally have spent thousands of hours (yes…

Welcome to the LearnTheHeart.com Blog!

March 4, 2014

Thank you for visiting the LearnTheHeart.com Blog! I hope you find these articles educational, engaging and entertaining. I first founded LearnTheHeart.com in 2003 as a 4th year medical student to…