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Posts Tagged ‘evidence based medicine’

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is being projected as a scientific God’s secret specialty. Physicians who don’t follow EBM are considered unfit non-professionals. Presumably, in pursuit of truth, all those glamorous official bodies in cardiology bring out umpteen number of protocols, guidelines, advisories, and recommendations.

The blueprint for EBM

We have the famous 3 levels of recommendation backed up by different levels of evidence. Many of us trust these as the jury’s final verdict for most illnesses in cardiology. I would like to bring one particular issue about this hugely popular model of EBM. It is about one specific class of Indication referred to as 2b. The other day, there was an intense argument for an ICD in a young HCM patient and CRT in DCM based on this 2b stuff. Kindly request all of you to pause for a moment and introspect. We can realize, class 2b plays a mischievous game in EBM with the English language “may and may not”. It tries to push subconsciously an interventional bias from equipoise, in spite of lack of good evidence and clear divergence of opinion and a possible trend towards harm.

Further, there is widespread reluctance in many cardiac workgroups to refer class 3 recommendations as an absolute (or at least relative contraindication) It was strange to note one of my colleagues argued that,  class 3 is also a fair recommendation, to accept or reject is in our domain. I was initially shocked to hear that but had to agree with him ultimately as we realized a significant chunk of interventions we do, like delayed PCI > 24 hrs, CTOs, and chronic stable belongs to the proud class 3 recommendation. The debate came to a funny end when a senior cardiologist confessed somehow class 3 seemed to be a lesser evil than even class 2B.

Final message

For the sake of our patients, we need to bring an urgent reform in the EBM. Let us merge class 2b with class 3 and put it in a single basket and keep it out of reach to all tempting stakeholders. We shall display only class 1 in our therapeutic showcase.

Counterpoint

(*Dynamic recommendations is the norm in science, as we accumulate evidence with time.. Agreed, let us do this silently in research labs. Don’t bring it to practical guidelines. No, can’t agree. Freedom to indulge with an experimental modality in a no-option patient must always be there as we are able to give the benefit of doubt to these helpless patients. This is a valid argument but we must not forget even in dire situations  good option need not be a compulsive action, it can be in action as well)

 

 

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This 90-second video clip is a “perfect provocation”

Allan Savory  is a renowned ecologist from Africa. He is a global leader in environment and eco protection. He is making this famous comment, during one of his interviews from the deep forests of Zimbabwe, after years of ground-level work in the field of desertification and climate change. I can understand his feelings, as we also encounter similar situations at ground zero of the health care delivery system. (I wonder if there is anything called peer-reviewed bedside caring)

We realize wide gaps between academia, patient care, and research are the norm, not an exception. One reason for this is, even well-learned medical professionals find it difficult to comprehend, that the practice of medicine is essentially an art, administered with love, care, service-mindedness. A cost-effective infrastructure with an immense amount of teamwork is critical ( Of course, guided by a fair amount of knowledge, expertise based on good scientific principles)  

Final message 

As Savory says, let us hope, the future looks bright, that welcomes young researchers from the fringes of the scientific community. Let them be conferred with all courage and resources to course-correct medical science from its frequent aberrant and awkward turns.

 

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Because . . . its current course is not always in the right direction &  not everyone is ready for course correction as well!

Reference

1.Hasnain-Wynia R. Is evidence-based medicine patient-centered and is patient-centered care evidence-based? Health Serv Res. 2006;41(1):1- 

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Somehow the concept of  Evidence based medicine (EBM )never excited me in spite of great strides it has made. Probably the main reason for this is, EBMs origin, quality, and credibility is currently severely compromised. (Though It appears to ooze science 24/7 and make us believe in it too !) Herewith, sharing some of the forbidden thoughts(with lots of pun)  for a (un)successful practice of EBM. This is definitely not meant for young and novice medical professionals. Strictly for the ones who can segregate sense from non (S)

Evidence-based Doubting 

 

Reference

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medical education critics cardiology evdnce based medicine growth ethics

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In this era of synthesized evidence base,  one of my  intellectually aberrant  student asked  How can we indulge in  a popular coronary procedure   with  class 1 indication backed by level C evidence  ?   (As defined by  the seemingly invincible  guideline committee  of various  International cardiology organizations .)

medical ethics silence guidelines

I told him ,

  • Institutional protocols are to be followed
  • Guidelines are to be respected
  • Recommendations are to be considered
  • Please be reminded  all of the  above can be rejected  outright !

Finally , realise  Individual  decisions based on sound scientific understanding with zero non academic intrusions  will be revered forever !

*Caution : If you  think  you haven’t  yet reached that the level of  individuality , come what may ,  you are  expected follow these  advisories  which are primarily aimed at  providing quality care and  you will be pardoned of any adversaries as well  !

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Picture4

After nearly three decades of , treating patients , teaching students and little involvement in research , created a new definition for null hypothesis in medical research  !

Picture7

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Mohandas Karam Chand Gandhi ,  father of my country , India , made these observations in year 1925  about the  fundamental constituents of  violence in society . These words of monumental wisdom came when he was  addressing young Indians in a country- side rally .

mahatma gandhi quotes medical science humanity

Note, his finger points to , what  exactly is relevant to our profession ! He emphasized this  nearly  100 years ago, when medical science was at its infancy .One can only guess what would be Mahatma’s comment about our profession in it’s  current form !

Should we include moral, behavioral and ethical classes  right from the first year of medical  school along with Anatomy , physiology and bio chemistry.Medical council of India obviously need to burn more mid night oil , I wish it happens in my life time. !

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