108. Narratives in Cardiology: Physician Scientists & Women in Electrophysiology with Dr. Christine Albert and Dr. Rachita Navara

CardioNerds (Amit Goyal andDaniel Ambinder) joinDr. Christine Albert (Professor of Medicine, Founding Chair of the Department of Cardiology at Cedars-Sinai, and President of Heart Rhythm Society) and Dr. Rachita Navara (FIT at Washington University, soon to be EP fellow at UCSF) for a Narratives in Cardiology episode. We learn from their experiences as physician scientists and women in cardiology, and specifically in electrophysiology.

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Show notes

1. Over the last several decades, what have we learned about the contribution of lifestyle factors to atrial fibrillation?

* Particularly in women, the development of obesity (BMI > 30 kg/m2) is associated with a 41% increase in the risk of developing atrial fibrillation (AF). Even short-term weight gains are associated with a 18% increased risk of developing AF. Fortunately, losing weight could modify or even reverse this elevated risk [1]* Exercise is beneficial for reducing the risk of AF, but higher frequency of vigorous exercise is actually associated with an increased risk of developing AF in young men and joggers. This risk decreases with age, and is offset by the other benefits of vigorous exercise on AF risk factors [2]* The link between alcohol consumption and AF was first described in 2008: for healthy middle-aged women, consuming two or more alcoholic drinks is associated with a statistically increased risk of developing AF [3]* The recent VITAL trial is the largest and longest randomized trial on primary prevention of AF, following over 25,000 men and women over five years. As recently presented at AHA 2020, Dr. Christine Albert and her study team found that neither vitamin D nor fish oil prevents the development of AF [4]

2. What is some practical advice on giving presentations and preparing research grants from Dr. Albert, renowned physician-scientist, and leader in electrophysiology?

* Whenever possible, Dr. Albert recommends memorizing your presentation to avoid referencing notes frequently, and to allow for continued eye contact with the audience. Practice delivering your presentation multiple times prior to the scheduled talk.* When preparing a grant, start early and seek feedback and edits from those in and out of your field.