American Heart Association

American Heart Association

November 16, 2017
2 min read

Burnout common in cardiologists, especially women

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Laxmi Mehta

ANAHEIM, Calif. — In a recent survey, more than one-quarter of U.S. cardiologists reported burnout, with burnout being 29% likely among women, researchers reported at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.

The data come from the American College of Cardiology’s 2015 Professional Life Survey. Laxmi Mehta, MD, FACC, FAHA, and colleagues compared responses to the validated “Mini Z” burnout assessment with broader questions about career satisfaction and family responsibilities. In total, 2,313 U.S. cardiologists completed the 2015 survey, of whom 964 were women. Twenty-seven percent reported current burnout and nearly 50% reported feeling stressed without burnout.

“We know burnout is the feeling of physical or mental exhaustion and a lack of self-perceived accomplishment.,” Mehta, associate professor of internal medicine, director of the women’s cardiovascular health program and the Sarah Ross Soter Endowed Chair in Women’s Cardiovascular Health at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told Cardiology Today at the AHA Scientific Sessions. “We also know that burnout among clinicians is associated with increased medical errors and reduced quality of care. This can result in reduced patient satisfaction and impact patient outcomes. Additionally, physicians who experience burnout are at risk of substance abuse, failed personal relationships and suicidal ideation.”

When categorized by sex, 31% of women, particularly those in early- to mid-career stages, and 24% of men reported burnout (P < .001).

Compared with responders who did not report burnout, those who did were more likely to have less satisfaction with family life (70% vs. 90%; P < .001), more time in direct patient care (73% vs. 69%; P < .01) and professional advancement that was hindered by family responsibilities (40% vs. 22%; P < .001), according to the findings presented by Mehta and colleagues.

Although most cardiologists who responded to this survey reported overall satisfaction with their career, those who reported burnout were less likely to recommend cardiology as a career to others compared with cardiologists who did not report burnout. (56% vs. 80%; P < .001).

Factors associated with the severity of burnout included insufficient time for documentation with electronic medical record, increased stress levels, poor teamwork, poor control over workload and hectic or chaotic work environments.

“Cardiologists are busy taking care of life-and-death issues for their patients, but their personal well-being is at risk,” Mehta said. “We hope that with these data, hospitals and professional organizations will increase efforts to enhance cardiologists’ well-being and improve patient care.” – by Darlene Dobkowski


Mehta L, et al. M2206. Presented at: American Heart Association Scientific Sessions; Nov. 11-15, 2017; Anaheim, California.

Disclosure: Mehta reports no relevant financial disclosures.