2011 in Review: Rivaroxaban, Sapien, Mark Midei, Conflicts of Interest, and Much More

Here’s a completely personal review of the past year in cardiology. Please write a comment if you strongly agree, disagree, or think something is missing.

Drug of the Year: Rivaroxaban (Xarelto)– Despite a highly negative review from FDA reviewers, rivaroxaban gained FDA approval for the coveted stroke prevention in AF indication. The drug was approved earlier in the year for VTE prevention after surgery. The biggest surprise, though, was rivaroxaban’s success in ACS in the ATLAS ACS TIMI 51 trial, which may well have an important impact on the field for years to come.

Device of the Year: Sapien Transcatheter Heart Valve– TAVI entered the marketplace this year. It will take another few years before its full impact is completely understood.

Drug of the Year Runnerup: Apixaban (Eliquis)For a while it looked like apixaban might be the drug of the year, and certainly the ARISTOTLE trial was the most highly praised trial of the year. But unlike rivaroxaban, apixaban was unable to thread the needle and succeed in ACS, as evidenced by the APPRAISE-2 trial.

Drug Dog of the Year: Dronedarone (Multaq)It was not a good year for dronedarone. The year started off with warnings about liver toxicity (as first reported here on CardioBrief) and the news didn’t get much better as the year progressed:

Year’s biggest disappointment: Vorapaxer, Merck’s thrombin receptor antagonist–

Ticagrelor (Brilinta) gained FDA approval this year and will continue to be a major story, but there wasn’t much major new information about the drug this year:
Major conflict-of-interest stories– As part of its Dollars for Docs series, Pro Publica shed light on the relationship between industry and cardiology medical societies. CardioBrief took a hard look at the National Lipid Association. The New York Times examined the ties with cardiologists of one company, Biotronik. And there was much more:

Dumbing Down the News– As usual, the media did its best to dumb down the news. Here are just a few examples.

Scientific Misconduct and Retractions– I remain shocked that the scientific community continues to ignore the implications of the growing number of cases of scientific misconduct and article retractions.

Mark Midei, Stents, and Device Overuse– Was 2011 the beginning of the end of the device overuse problem or the end of the beginning?

At Long Last:

Editorials and Comments:



  1. Great compilation, Larry! Not sure I’ve seen a nicer summary of events in 2011.

    All the best to you in 2012!

  2. Following Larry is like having a journalistic army watching the whole field of cardiology. Many thanks and happy new year!

  3. Wes, SMFleet– thanks so much for your nice comments. Happy New Year!

  4. Ethan Weiss says

    Agree with Wes! This is spectacular.

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