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From the Heart
November 27, 2019

Tolstoy in Medicine

Author Affiliations
  • 1Scripps Clinic, Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, La Jolla, California
JAMA Cardiol. 2020;5(1):11-12. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2019.4545

Many people liken the field of heart failure to oncology. Both fields treat a heterogenous group of diseases simplistically referred to as heart failure or cancer. Both share the extremes of victory and loss. Both offer an opportunity for intense patient-physician bonds that are sometimes counterbalanced by difficult end-of-life conversations. Both sometimes force us to engage in uncomfortable discussions about the ineffectiveness of our modern medicine in treating certain diseases. And both offer a unique insight to the questions that dying individuals have to confront, sometimes alone.

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