Saving the Heart: The Battle to Conquer Coronary Disease

Though still the leading cause of death, coronary heart disease is now killing half as many people in the U.S. as in the 1960s, partly because of innovative treatments like bypass surgery, balloon angioplasty, and thrombolytic drugs. This book tells the stories of the bold researchers who developed such treatments and explores the tough ethical questions raised by the big money being made in modern cardiology.

Klaidman shows how clinicians, engineers, and entrepreneurs have devised radically new ways to treat a diseased heart. He examines the startling extent to which financial ambition has shaped the dynamics of cardiology--now a multi-billion dollar medical/academic/industrial/governmental hybrid--and the inevitable conflicts of interest such ambition creates. Can a patient's needs come first when market share and profits skew the focus away from medical prudence? Can clinical trials be both free of bias and fast enough to keep up with the flood of new drugs and high-tech devices? Klaidman tackles these questions using real cases, often in the context of wrenching bedside decisions.