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The Widowmaker (2015)

Not Rated | | Documentary, News | 27 February 2015 (USA)
1:33 | Trailer
Every minute of every year an American drops dead of a heart attack, hundreds of thousands without any warning or prior symptom. But these people could have been saved. The Widowmaker ... See full summary »


Patrick Forbes


Patrick Forbes



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gillian Anderson ... Herself - Narrator (voice)
Melinda Murray Melinda Murray ... Herself - Lost Husband to Heart Attack
Julio Palmaz Julio Palmaz ... Himself - Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio (as Dr. Julio Palmaz)
Martin B. Leon Martin B. Leon ... Himself - Columbia University Medical Center, NYC (as Prof. Martin B. Leon)
Larry King ... Himself - Heart Attack Survivor
Bruce H. Brundage Bruce H. Brundage ... Himself - Former Professor, David Geffen School of Medicine
Douglas P. Boyd Douglas P. Boyd ... Himself - Former Professor of Radiology, UCSF
Daniel Bos Daniel Bos ... Himself - Son of Otto Bos
Arthur Agatston ... Himself - Doctor
Warren Janowitz Warren Janowitz ... Himself - Baptist Hospital of Miami
Harvey S. Hecht Harvey S. Hecht ... Himself - Professor, Mount Sinai Medical Center
John A. Rumberger John A. Rumberger ... Himself - Princeton Longevity Center
Matthew Budoff Matthew Budoff ... Himself - Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute
Samin K. Sharma Samin K. Sharma ... Himself - Mount Sinai Medical Center
Steven Nissen Steven Nissen ... Himself - Cleveland Clinic


Every minute of every year an American drops dead of a heart attack, hundreds of thousands without any warning or prior symptom. But these people could have been saved. The Widowmaker uncovers a chilling tale of greed, ego, and a conspiracy of silence around that most vulnerable of human organs - the heart. Written by Anonymous

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Documentary | News


Not Rated


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27 February 2015 (USA) See more »

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User Reviews

This movie, though impressive, is also impressively misleading
14 August 2017 | by robert-89836See all my reviews

I was one of the first researchers who proposed the use of coronary artery calcification to predict probability of heart attacks (calcium screening) and I played a major part in the development and testing of the technologies used for calcium screening. The producers of this film solicited my participation in their planned documentary and I declined participation.

When I was invited to participate, I was told by the interviewing staff member from the Widowmaker production team that the film was largely funded by one donor who was, for personal reasons, totally sold on the value of calcium screening as a way to detect those persons susceptible to heart attacks. It was obvious that this "documentary" film would not be an accurate portrayal of the history of the development of this technology nor would it represent anything like objective journalism regarding the test's actual value.

After viewing the film, I know I made the correct decision to not participate.

The film portrays a non-existent intellectual and economic battle between those who propose prevention of heart disease and those who propose intervention for those already suffering from heart disease. It appears almost as if these two "sides" are fighting each other; it seems from the film that one side wants to prevent heart attacks and deprive the other from the business in treating them and the intervention side is against prevention in order to get more business. This is a convenient, though inaccurate and unfair way to explain why many, including myself, who saw real value in calcium screening did not and still do not recommend its universal use for all those who might be worried about their risk of a heart attack.

Calcium screening is accepted by the medical community as a way to determine risk and to focus preventive interventions (like cholesterol lowering) on those at high risk for heart attacks. It is not accepted as a way to detect latent heart disease in everybody.

This approach of screening to determine risk is based on scientific evidence.

Those doctors who specialize in treating heart attacks and heart disease with interventions are not at all opposed to coronary calcium screening when used in this scientifically proved way.

Robert Detrano MD PhD

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