About

 Cardiac Specialists 8025I am a practicing (that means I have a clinical practice, not that I am practicing on my patients) noninvasive clinical cardiologist in the suburbs of St. Louis.

I’m board-certified in internal medicine, cardiology, echocardiography and nuclear cardiology.

My hospital, St. Lukes of Chesterfield, is “the only St. Louis hospital recognized as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals™ by Healthgrades® (2007-2017), ranking among the top one percent in the nation based on superior clinical quality.”

(Update-St. Lukes named 50 Best again in 2015, 2016, and 2017!)

I’ve spent time in academic cardiology , done research and teaching , and published numerous research papers in major cardiology journals. (If you enter “Pearson AC” into Google Scholar most of the first 10 pages are my papers).

I’ve been the Principal Investigator on many clinical research studies and I’ve received honoraria for speaking for multiple different drugs for Big Pharma. (I don’t do this anymore and I don’t accept snacks, treats, dinners or lunches from pharmaceutical representatives)

All of these experiences have taught me to cultivate a healthy skepticism for information that has potential bias.

For 30 years I followed and counseled my patients on dietary guidelines that I assumed were solidly based in science.
I drank skim milk, ate low or no fat yogurt, avoided butter like the plague and had egg-white omeletes.
One afternoon I started to lecture my lunch companion (who now is the eternal fiancee’ of the skeptical cardiologist) on her decision to consume a croissant slathered with butter. When she challenged my supporting evidence I went on a quest to discover the scientific sources underpinning my recommendations.

My findings were, shall we say, eye-opening.

I now consume full fat milk, yogurt and cheese as much as I desire and my omelettes contain egg yolks.

Oh, and I slather butter (really good butter, from grass fed , pasture raised cows) on food at the drop of a hat.
The major focus of this blog is to look at what we truly know about diet and cardiovascular disease versus what we have been told.

Addendum: Over time I’ve obviously expanded the topics I bloviate on in a skeptical, critical way. Now, you will find discussions on statins, cardiac testing, good doctoring and new health care monitoring devices.

Disclaimer:

This is a personal website, produced in my own time and solely reflecting my personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. 

In particular, please note that nothing on this site represents the views or policies of St. Luke’s Hospital my current employer.

-ACP

Private emails can be sent to DRP@theskepticalcardiologist.com

 

 

34 thoughts on “About”

  1. I accessed your blog today through a link included in your comment on Dr. Sigurdsson’s blog. Having read your posts about saturated fat, I see you are not yet familiar with the omega-6 hazard, as I term it.

    I learned the hard way what excessive omega-6 linoleic acid can do to one’s health. http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2014-10-03/article/42529?headline=Perils-of-Peanuts–David-Brown-Kalispell-MT

    I contacted the FDA and learned that regulations forbid the listing of grams of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats on food labels. In Canada, grams or omega-3s and 6s are listed on Canola oil containers.

    I’d really like to know which oil-rich foods are high in omega-6 linoleic acid. For example, the turkey I’m cooking contains 3 grams of saturated fat and 10 grams of total fat per serving. Turkeys generally have a high omega-6 content because of what they are fed.

    Humans also have a high omega-6 content these days because it’s in the food supply. http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2014/014386/hold-mayo

  2. As promised I visited your blog today. It was easy to access & navigate. I’m on the same page as you re: dietary fat but we differ on quantity. Also, I’m all for taking “goodies” from pharma reps – I can be “bought off” w/lunches, dinners etc BUT I can’t convince them to call on retired diagnostic imaging reps.
    I’ll work on shaving a few pounds off my formidable frame before I see you again. I’m sure you have some insights at the site that will help w/calories.
    Thanks!

  3. I just read your post on being nominated for a “The Leading Physicians of the World”. Thanks so much for looking into it and sharing what you found! I got an email on linked in today and was very suspicious too (what do these people know about what i am doing?? I don’t even have that much on linked in!). Glad to know how it works and its real purpose!! 🙂

  4. So I can eat brie now with virtual cardiac impunity? After so many decades of indoctrination about the evils of consuming dairy fat, my brain simply cannot seem to adjust to the latest research. Brie? Butter?
    Any high-fat cheese?

      1. I hadn’t, but have now read your post from 2014, “In defense of real cheese.” It’s going to take a long time to adjust my thinking; the brainwashing went deep, and I still feel guilty consuming food like butter and brie. But I’m delighted to have just discovered your invaluable website. Thanks so much for all the critically important information.

  5. WHY is mainstream cardiology not preaching the same gospel? Australian Heart Foundation is still stuck on tasteless low fat dairy products.
    I am a dairy farmer’s daughter with good FH,, practising as GP . I have always eaten a bit of butter, and adore a bit of cheese, ignoring the advice. I will have more, waistline premitting.
    Husband’s cardiologist still saying ‘no cheese, no butter’ because of his IHD but we both opt for full fat yoghurt.
    It tastes better.

    1. Why, indeed!
      My post today talks more about this paradox.
      “mainstream cardiology” is gradually coming around to the truth but its difficult adjusting the bearings of such a large , fully loaded ship.

  6. Hoping you will some day soon address the issue of catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation–assuming you have some opinions about it.

    1. I will second Alexa’s motion and move to add a discussion of Flutter versus Fibrillation, also assuming you have some opinions, considering that you are a non-invasive, non-interventional guy …:-)

      1. Hi Dr Pearson. I was researching healthy eating due to a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and I find it confusing that Dr. Kim Williams (president American College of Cardiology) can have such a, seemingly, diametrically opposed point of view to your own when looking at the same scientific evidence. Am I missing something? I would like to have your take on this if you have time. Many thanks.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yW7ljppz5JQ

      2. Yes, Kim Williams is a vegan and yes, he’s is the president of the ACC but that doesn’t mean that the ACC recommends a vegan diet or that we should believe his advice. Williams likes to cite his drop in LDL cholesterol when he changed his diet but what we don’t know is what this change in diet will have on his risk of atherosclerosis. He has become convinced of the great benefits of vegan diets based on his own anecdotal experience and this does not make for good science. I can cite my own anecdotal experience of having my good cholesterol go up 50% when my diet changed from low fat to low carb but I don’t think this should be a basis for population recommendations.
        Keep in mind, Kim Williams, as a vegan believes you should not eat fish. This goes against every thing we have learned in the last 20 years.
        He also mentions in this video that he is in favor of restricting all fat. That would include olive oil which is clearly beneficial in reducing coronary disease.
        He clearly has developed a bias that the vegan diet is better and is attempting to evangelize this by cherry picking scientific studies.
        As a diabetic, you are much better off consuming a low carb diet.

  7. I just found your blog today — you sound more like us than we do. Even your tone is almost as sarcastic as ours. But wellness is even more of a scam than the stuff you are describing, so it’s easier for us to diss ‘the Aetnas, Cignas, and United Healthcares of the world for convincing companies they need to force their employees to get screened every year, and that the answer to all of life’s problems is to eat more broccoli.

  8. During the late 1980’s, Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn began reversing atherosclerosis, and more importantly greatly decreased the number of reoccurring cardiac events in participants who adhered to a plant-based diet and often other lifestyle modifications.32 33 34 35 More recently Dr. Esselstyn has replicated his initial findings in around 200 participants over the period of a decade, with publication pending results showing a phenomenal success rate of a 99.5% reduction in reoccurring cardiovascular events [reviewed previously].
    Dietary cholesterol and fat that leads to obesity, heart disease and diabetes among other chronic diseases, can only be found in animal based foods such as All meat (not just red) and all dairy, and eggs. There is research and cases that prove this, as well as a growing number of cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons who have experienced this themselves are are treating patients with this approach. So how does a cardiologist like yourself, ignore and promote a lifestyle that promotes the use of animal based products?

    1. Merrilee, I appreciate your comments and questions and wish you success on your documentary. I have no problem with people eating a plant-based diet. Personally, I follow Michael Pollan’s “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much”.
      However, there is no good science supporting the concept that “dietary cholesterol and fat” …”leads to obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
      In fact if you will look at some of my other posts you will find my summary of these topics, discussed and referenced in detail.
      You could start with
      1. My discussion of the bad science behind Dr. Esselstyn’s “study”.
      2. My discussion of the fact that dietary cholesterol is no longer considered a nutrient of concern for atherosclerosis and that cardiologists are moving away from obsessing about fat or saturated fat in the diet as a cause of heart disease.
      3. My discussion of the Pritikin diet . In the comments I discuss the poor science behind Ornish’s studies as support for very low or vegetarian diets.
      So, as you can see, I don’t ignore this research, in fact I have studied it in detail in order that I could present the best possible advice to my patients with respect to diet.

  9. Thanks for your blog, Dr. Pearson. Having just had an afib episode (only the second; the first was more than ten years ago). It converted within an hour of beginning a cardizem IV, but there’s been a long-term reaction/damage seemingly caused by a single experimental dose of Rythmol. As a result, I’ve begun reading up on the subject again. It’s refreshing to find a cardiologist who writes based on science rather than “conventional wisdom.”

  10. Ive been an RN for decades and now find myself with heart temper tantrums called a fib. It is so refreshing to read your info, restores my faith in honest medicine. Thanks for doing what you do🌟

  11. I’m 57 with family history of heart disease. No immediate issues (other than elevated hs-CRP) but would like to find a cardiologist for assessment. Would like someone like yourself who is data driven but looks beyond guidelines “handed down”. I’m in Texas – do you know of any like minded cardiologists I could seek out?

  12. I very much appreciate your approach to medicine and patient care. I’m a 57 year old with family history of heart disease. I live in Texas. Can you suggest cardiologists in my state that are also data driven and look a little more deeply than most?
    I have an elevated hs-CRP and want to find out what I should do.

    Thanks.

    1. I don’t have personal experience with any cardiologists in Texas.
      My last post was just retweeted by John Erwin in Temple, TX at Baylor there who seems to have a great interest in preventive cardiology. You can get an idea of his interests and personality by reading his prolific tweets at @heartotxheartmd.
      Beyond personal connections I find it very hard to make MD recommendations.
      I would definitely be looking for board certification in cardiology.

  13. Thanks for your excellent, well reasoned, and good humored site! I too was offered a “Leading Physician of the World” opportunity, and while I was not remotely interested in signing up for it I wanted to see what better informed folks thought about it. I came across your post and had to keep reading. Your incisive perspective is a pleasure to read. You can always spot where a scientist is in his or her development; the most mature and experienced are most open to being wrong. Thanks again.

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Unbiased, evidence-based discussion of the effects of diet, drugs, and procedures on heart disease

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