The DOLs at the forefront of cardiology

01.02.2024 | Insight

The DOLs at the forefront of cardiology

As per WHO, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, snatching an estimated 17.9 million lives each year. The World Health Federation states that more than 500 million people live with cardiovascular disease. Given these stark statistics, the importance of cardiologists and their voice in shaping healthcare cannot be ignored. 

From online global conversations among cardiologists, identified five Digital Opinion Leaders (DOLs) who were influencing their healthcare professional (HCP) peers. Several metrics were used to evaluate DOL status, including level of contribution to cardiology conversations, number of HCP followers, and reach and engagement with other HCPs. Each identified DOL demonstrates expertise and leadership in the field of cardiology through their social media posts.

Top 5 DOLs in cardiology

Ritu Thamman

Dr Ritu Thamman is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Echocardiography. Prominent in shaping cardiology practices, she contributes to national and international guideline committees like the American College of Cardiology Disparities of Care Guidelines committee.

Thamman is the social media editor for journals like the Journal of American Society of Echocardiography. She also chairs the Echocardiography Journal club on X. Given her strong online presence, she is an advocate and educator for cardiologists on social media. 

In 21 posts on X, she celebrated the achievements of female peers, promoted equal representation of female cardiologists and shared research on cardiovascular disease outcomes in women. In 267 posts, she engaged with peer DOL Martha Gulati, also a female advocate in cardiology. In one of these posts, she posed a question to Gulati concerning cardiology guidelines in women. 

In some posts, Thamman also focuses on the role of AI in accurate echocardiographic assessment. classifies Ritu Thamman as a Female Representation Advocate due to her focus on representation for women in cardiovascular research and awareness-raising.

Martha Gulati

Dr Martha Gulati is the Director of Prevention and Associate Director of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center, and President-Elect of the American Society for Preventive Cardiology. An interventional cardiologist who specialises in heart disease prevention and women’s health, she authored the best-seller “Saving Women’s Hearts” and co-authored several guidelines including the National Guidelines for Heart Disease Prevention in Women. 

On Linkedin and X, Gulati posts a lot during global congresses using hashtags such as #ACC23 and #ESCCongress when sharing conference highlights and research presented, and celebrating female peers that she meets at these events. In February 2023, the Heart Health Month, she was vocal about cardiovascular risks in women and healthcare disparities faced by female patients. She used the hashtag #HeartMonth and #GoRedForWomen when posting facts and advice for women each day of this month, to raise awareness of cardiovascular risks. classifies Martha Gulati as a Female Representation Advocate due to her focus on research, treatment and awareness in women’s health in cardiology. 

Andrew J Sauer 

Based in Kansas, Dr Andrew J Sauer is the Associate Director of Cardiovascular Research at Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute. One of his passions is the use of digital health and remote monitoring technologies to address rural healthcare disparities. He serves as an experienced investigator in clinical trials that aim to address unmet needs in heart failure.

These interests are reflected in his social media content. For instance, in 53 posts on X he focused on heart failure where he shared research on the use of various medications and LVADS for disease management, remote monitoring to reduce hospitalisation, and racial disparities in access to remote diagnosis. On Linkedin, a similar trend was observed, with Sauer reposting about research funding granted for an innovative heart monitoring device, and posting about the greater vulnerability of Native Americans to substance use-related cardiovascular deaths. 

As a proud parent of three kids, he also talks about the challenges and joys of parenting when giving professional talks outside of work. classifies Andrew J Sauer as an Innovator due to his focus on new therapies to manage advanced heart failure.

Paddy Barrett

Based in Ireland, Dr Paddy Barrett works as a preventative cardiologist at BlackRock clinic. He is focused on improving heart health and lifespan, digital medicine and technological innovations. He writes weekly newsletters and has a blog on preventing heart disease, improving quality of life and lifespan. 

During his work at The Scripps Translational Science Institute, he pioneered many cardiovascular procedures with world-renowned cardiologist and scientist Dr Eric Topol. He developed several new technologies, such as a handheld, smartphone-based ultrasound alternative to stethoscopes. He also collaborated with NASA to validate medical devices in zero gravity, to pave the way for medical monitoring of astronauts in space in the future. He is the host and founder of the internationally-acclaimed ‘The Doctor Paradox’ podcast, and speaks around the world on the influence of technology in healthcare. 

Barrett posts lifestyle advice and actions that can be taken to prevent heart disease. His content mainly caters to the public audience rather than other HCPs. On X, he often shares this advice in the form of threads, whereas on Linkedin, he posts them in the form of short snippets, and on Instagram, in a motivational style and bullet-point format.


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A post shared by Dr Paddy Barrett (@drpaddybarrett) classifies Paddy Barrett as a Public Health Educator as he educates the public on lifestyle changes to manage and prevent cardiovascular disease.

Dr Joshua Walinjom

Dr Joshua Walinjom is a member of the European Society of Cardiology, the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging, and the Heart Failure Association. Currently pursuing a cardiology fellowship at Kings College Hospital, UK, his research focuses on interventional cardiology. 

On Linkedin and X, he posts about diagnosis, imaging findings, risks, treatment and management guidelines for various cardiovascular diseases, including rare and comorbid conditions, such as Torsades de Pointes, Wellens Syndrome, Brugada syndrome, and angina. In several posts, he recommends guidelines for the use of beta blockers in different conditions and discusses their potential side effects.

In 62 posts on X, Walinjom shared normal and pathological ECGs with peers, testing their knowledge with diagnosis questions and enlightening them on ECG biomarkers to identify various cardiovascular diseases. 

With the highest X follower count of 88,937 among the top 5 cardiologist DOLs, his top post on anticoagulant use garnered 4014 likes. Walinjom posted actively throughout the year and shared academic resources such as journal publications when informing other HCPs of recommended scientific guidelines. classifies Joshua Walinjom as a Peer Educator as he shares educational posts and scientific data to educate peers on cardiovascular disease diagnosis and treatment.  

Revolutionising cardiovascular healthcare and promoting representation

Each of these DOLs, and thousands of cardiologists like them, aspire to see improvements for patients with cardiovascular diseases, from better representation of female cardiologists and equal healthcare access for female patients, to improved treatment outcomes using technology. These DOLs have the potential to significantly inspire and drive change.

Analysing the online conversation between cardiologists, especially DOLs, gives a truer understanding of where their passions lie. As the leading provider of Digital Opinion Leader identification, profiling and activation, helps clients understand who the real top voices are online.

To learn more, get in touch at [email protected].

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Meet the Author

Eden Daniel

Eden, a recent Computational Neuroscience graduate who also holds a distinction in Life Science, is passionate about drawing unique insights from online HCP conversations. With strong investigative abilities and market research experience, she crafts data-driven stories about the healthcare landscape.

In her leisure time, Eden enjoys walking, listening to music, reading and spending time with family.

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