March 11th, 2010

Heart Test May Be Overused

By Kelley Luckstein

A widely used test to detect blockages in the heart's arteries often turns up little or no evidence of disease, a new study found,heart-procedure suggesting that patients are frequently exposed unnecessarily to the risks and costs of the invasive examination. The test is a called a coronary angiogram…

 

Other factors contribute to demands for more angiograms, doctors say. Among these: financial incentives for doctors to perform angiograms, worries of malpractice suits if a blockage is missed on early tests, and patients demanding more specific information about their condition.…

 

"Our whole system is incented to do more," says Chet Rihal, a cardiologist and director of the catheterization clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "We've got to get much smarter about how we're ordering and interpreting these tests."

 

Wall Street Journal, by Ron Winslow, 3/10/2010

Tags: angiograms, Cardiology, Chet Rihal

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