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Broken Hearts

Hardback
, 336 pages

25 b&w illus.

ISBN:
9781421408019
February 2013
$34.95

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Broken Hearts

The Tangled History of Cardiac Care

Still the leading cause of death worldwide, heart disease challenges researchers, clinicians, and patients alike. Each day, thousands of patients and their doctors make decisions about coronary angioplasty and bypass surgery. In Broken Hearts David S. Jones sheds light on the nature and quality of those decisions. He describes the debates over what causes heart attacks and the efforts to understand such unforeseen complications of cardiac surgery as depression, mental fog, and stroke.

Why do doctors and patients overestimate the effectiveness and underestimate the dangers of medical interventions, especially when doing so may lead to the overuse of medical therapies? To answer this question, Jones explores the history of cardiology and cardiac surgery in the United States and probes the ambiguities and inconsistencies in medical decision making. Based on extensive reviews of medical literature and archives, this historical perspective on medical decision making and risk highlights personal, professional, and community outcomes.

David S. Jones is the A. Bernard Ackerman Professor of the Culture of Medicine at Harvard University.

"Offers a historical perspective on medical decision making in the case of heart disease."

"For anyone who has had a heart attack or whose family member has had one, this book is definitely worth reading."

"Any health collection strong in cardiac care will find this a winning presentation perfect for general health or specialty collections alike."

"The light Jones shines on the interventional cardiovascular enterprise illuminates numerous, sometimes fatal and always costly flaws that every patient and society at large ignores at great peril."

"A surprising and sobering book. David Jones combines rigorous research with a clear narrative style to produce a very persuasive historical analysis. I heartily recommend that physicians read Broken Hearts to benefit from a dose of detective work, a dose of insight, and a good dose of humility."

"Jones does a very good job of outlining how difficult it is to understand all the workings of the human body, what is involved in medical research, and how that research is applied to human subjects through the lens of one medical specialty."

"All in all, Jones presents a different and refreshing take on the challenges before us. He provides more questions than answers, but this is all to the good. Unless we pose the proper questions we cannot ever hope to obtain the right answers."

"Wide-ranging, full of interesting and telling historical details, steadily paced yet thorough in its making sense of complex medicine, Broken Hearts exposes cardiac care as neither mundane nor settled."

"Jones asks us to embrace the complexity of medical decision-making, to recognize medical research gains and gaps, and to acknowledge the social values and priorities that shape our present scenario. Difficult decisions in medicine remain, but perhaps Jones’s book will contribute to more judicious ones."

"For the past half century, patients have been advised to undergo valve replacement, angioplasty, or coronary artery bypass graft procedures to prevent or ameliorate cardiac pathologies. But how good are these procedures? How certain are the surgeons or physicians who recommend them that they will work? How do they know? Giving some answers to these questions and showing how the criteria for making medical decisions change over time are the themes of Broken Hearts."

"Jones’s larger point is a meditation on how we understand and misunderstand medical knowledge."

"Very informative and containing important insights, Broken Hearts is thoroughly researched, well written, and the only work of its kind dealing with these treatments of heart disease."

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