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The Editor's Curse

ISHLT I2C2 Committee Co-chair

Our distinguished Editor of the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation (JHLT) has held several leadership positions in cardiac transplant and cardiologic departments across the USA. Starting in New Orleans at The Ochsner Clinic, he became famous in the transplant community due to his work on IVUS detection of graft vasculopathy. In 2005, he moved to Baltimore as head of the Department of Cardiology at the University of Maryland. His last move was in 2012, when he went to Boston to take the position of Head of Cardiology at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital.

What a career he has achieved ... pause ... drum roll ... until now! I bow my head and prostrate myself in honor of his knowledge, creativity and success! But nobody knows his other side (damn Vincent's Sense about Double Trouble and dualities), his dark side: He is THE ultimate nemesis of many young tough men who try to achieve the ultimate goal of America's #1 sport: win the Super Bowl in the National Football League. After reviewing all data, cooperating with top statisticians and working with specialists who reviewed the outcome data in a blinded way, we came to the horrifying conclusion of our analysis: Mandeep Mehra is associated with the downfall of a football city. He brings with him: The Editor's Curse.

Evidence has been put together and will now be published the first time ever to bring forward the horrible truth (illustrated in Table 1 below).

Evidence #1: Horror on the Bayou
The first evidence of The Editor's legacy on New Orleans can be found in Pub Med.1 There is no clear evidence that he took his curse to the Saints before 1992. This manifests in the 12-4 Record of the Saints in 1992. However his curse struck the first time in the post season, prohibiting the saints to get their first playoff victory. The next years were up and down. Although 2000 was the year of the first playoff victory, the Saints totally crashed during the hurricane Katrina disaster. However, this was also the year where the Editor left for Baltimore and immediately the curse was gone: Playoffs in the first year after the Editor left and, finally, the long awaited Super Bowl victory in 2009. They were singing "Fiyo on the Bayou."

Evidence #2: Ravenstown Ravaged
The Editor left New Orleans in 2005 to join the University of Maryland in Baltimore. The Ravens were a successful team at that time: winners of the Super Bowl in 2000 with a respectable post-season record of 71.4%. After the Editor's arrival, the team immediately went down to a 6-10 record and fought the coming years for their playoff appearances. Although playoffs would be reached 4 times during the Editor's stay in Baltimore, the post-season record was a cumbersome 5-5 (50%). However the first full year without the curse, they immediately went on to claim victory in Super Bowl XLVII on February 3, 2013. This shows 2 Super Bowl wins without the Editor and zippo, nada, none with him, quoth the raven nevermore.

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You need even more evidence? Still not convinced? Well, the story has not ended.

Evidence #3: The end of a Dynasty:
In 2012 our Editor moved again to another city … this time Boston, home of the dynasty franchise of the 2000's, the New England Patriots. No one needs to show the record of the Patriots but to pick a few: 3 Super Bowl wins, almost always playoff births, mostly as divisional champion. However everything changed in 2012. The Patriots felt the curse in Super Bowl 2012 against the Giants (do you really believe that a franchise QB-WR combo drops the most important pass that easily?). The Editor's curse hit Brady and his men! And the 2013 playoff ended in a clear home loss against the eventual Super Bowl winning team, the Ravens, with similar drops by the same people…. Come on, these are clear signs of the Editor's curse. From the arrival of the Editor in Boston, the Pats have not won a Super Bowl. I even would argue further: the next years will be the end of the Patriots dynasty. And the Patriots success story will end.

The results show a highly significant and auspicious increase of Super Bowl wins for cities when the Editor left or before he arrived compared to cities when the Editor worked there.

So what is the summary of our in depth analysis?

  1. If you want to get great heart medicine in your town: hire the Editor
  2. If you want to kill a football franchise: hire the Editor

Limitations of the analysis: of course there might be factors other than the Editor that put a curse on NFL franchises. It might be the JHLT itself, bad coaching, player injuries or just bad playmaking by NFL stars.

However, this is rather unlikely after working out the details. Nevertheless, we will consider a future multivariate analysis, including all former Editors, other journals (pre- vs. post-editorial changes) and football associated factors.

Until then we have to send a warning to Boston, to the New England Patriots, that rough times are approaching. In contrast to legal affairs we believe the curse exists until proven otherwise that it is reliable and undeniable open and shut case. The Doors have struck. As Jim Morrison would say ... this is the end my only friend, the end ....

Disclosure Statements:

  1. 1. The author is a friend of Dr. Mandeep Mehra
  2. The author is a diehard New Orleans Saints football fan since 1978 (strange for a European person!)

Dr. Zuckermann is an Associate Professor of Surgery and the Director of Cardiac Transplantation at the Medical University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria.


  1. Mehra MR, Sharif K, Bode FR. Radiocontrast-induced nephropathy. Prevention is better than cure. Postgrad Med. 1992 Dec;92(8):215-8, 222-3. Review. PubMed PMID:1454669.