Ask Your Physician Why They’re Running That Test?

The electrocardiogram you got at your most recent physical may have been a waste of time and money.

A guideline from the American College of Physicians published Monday in The Annals of Internal Medicine concludes that routine cardiac testing of adults without symptoms has not been shown to improve patient outcomes, and can lead to potential harms.

There is no evidence that stress tests, electrocardiograms or myocardial perfusion imaging (the so-called nuclear stress test that involves exposure to radiation) have any advantages over routine risk assessment in asymptomatic people. All the tests commonly produce false positives that lead to further unnecessary testing, and all involve extra expense.

The guideline says that the benefits of testing should be greater than the benefits of assessing traditional risk factors like age, smoking, blood pressure and lipid levels.

There is no evidence that stress tests, electrocardiograms or myocardial perfusion imaging (the so-called nuclear stress test that involves exposure to radiation) have any advantages over routine risk assessment in asymptomatic people. All the tests commonly produce false positives that lead to further unnecessary testing, and all involve extra expense.

Read more here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary