Research on Digital Technology Use in Cardiology: Bibliometric Analysis

Background: Digital technology uses in cardiology have become a popular research focus in recent years. However, there has been no published bibliometric report that analyzes the relevant academic literature in order to derive key publishing trends and characteristics of this scientific area.

Objective: We used a bibliometric approach to identify and analyze the academic literature on digital technology uses in cardiology, and to unveil popular research topics, key authors, institutions, countries, and journals. We further captured the cardiovascular conditions and diagnostic tools most commonly investigated within this field.

Methods: The Web of Science electronic database was queried to identify relevant papers on digital technology uses in cardiology. Publication and citation data were acquired directly from the database. Complete bibliographic data were exported to VOSviewer, a dedicated bibliometric software package, and related to the semantic content of titles, abstracts, and keywords. A term map was constructed for visualization of findings.

Results: The analysis was based on data from 12,529 papers. Of the top 5 most productive institutions, 4 were based in the United States. The United States was the most productive country (4224 / 12,529, 33.7%), followed by United Kingdom (1136 / 12,529, 9.1%), Germany (1067 / 12,529, 8.5%), China (682 / 12,529, 5.4%), and Italy (622 / 12,529, 5.0%). Cardiovascular diseases that were frequently investigated include hypertension (152 / 12,529, 1.2%), atrial fibrillation (122 / 12,529, 1.0%), atherosclerosis (116 / 12,529, 0.9%), heart failure (106 / 12,529, 0.8%), and arterial stiffness (80 / 12,529, 0.6%). Recurring modalities were electrocardiography (170 / 12,529, 1.4%), angiography (127 / 12,529, 1.0%), echocardiography (127 / 12,529, 1.0%), digital subtraction angiography (111 / 12,529, 0.9%), and photoplethysmography (80 / 12,529, 0.6%). For a literature subset on smartphone apps and wearable devices, the Journal of Medical Internet Research (20/632, 3.2%) and other JMIR portfolio journals (51/632, 8.0%) were the major publishing venues.

Conclusions: Digital technology uses cardiology in targeted physicians, patients, and the general public. Their functions range from assisting diagnosis, recording cardiovascular parameters, and patient education, to teaching laypersons about cardiopulmonary resuscitation. This field has already had a great impact in health care, and we expect continued growth.

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