Indexed on: 27 Jul '18Published on: 27 Jul '18Published in: Annals of Vascular Surgery
To characterize the vascular surgery Twitter network. 20,841 consecutive tweets by 8,282 unique Twitter accounts regarding vascular surgery from October 23, 2014 to Jan 15, 2018 were analyzed. Twitter analytics, including activity metrics, content analysis, user characteristics, engagement, and network analysis were performed using Symplur Signals, a healthcare social media analytics platform. Vascular surgery tweets, the number of users tweeting about vascular surgery, and vascular surgery tweet impressions have increased by an annual average of 77.8%, 55.3%, and 209.1% from 2015-2017, respectively. Twitter activity trend analysis showed consistent growth over the study period with an average of 25.7 ± 2.6 additional tweets per month (P < 0.001). As for tweet content, 2,220 tweets (10.7%) were pertaining to patients and 2,198 tweets (10.5%) were regarding new or innovative topics. 15,422 tweets (74.0%) included links to journals or websites and 6,826 tweets (32.8%) contained at least one image. Deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, diabetes, endovascular interventions, trauma, and practice guidelines were among the most commonly discussed health topics. Physicians composed 5,618 tweets (27%) while patients submitted 2,447 tweets (11.7%). As for engagement, 8,886 tweets (42.6%) were retweets, 11,816 tweets (56.7%) mentioned at least one other user, and 786 tweets (3.8%) were replies. Network analysis revealed central hubs to be vascular surgery societies, academic institutions, academic journals, and physicians. The use of Twitter to discuss vascular surgery is growing rapidly with increasing use by vascular surgeons and vascular medicine physicians. An effort to involve more patients in the vascular surgery Twitter social network may allow for more opportunities to educate, and garner interest and support for vascular surgery. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.