Do I Need a Heart Stress Test?

Friday, 22 Nov 2013 09:39 AM

By Nick Tate

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Question: At my last physical, my doctor said I was healthy, but suggested I get a Cardiolite Stress Test "just to be sure we haven’t missed something." I don’t have a family history of heart disease. What do you think?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
 
I think that is total "bunk"! What absolute nonsense. We do not use cardiology imaging studies to look for possible disease in asymptomatic risk -free patients. Cardiolite stress studies are done to evaluate abnormal EKG results or situations where cardiac disease is suspected with a normal EKG.
 
We use them to evaluate abnormalities, not healthy patients. I advise you obtain a copy of your medical records and march over to another doctor's office to obtain a second opinion, or set up an office appointment with a cardiologist.
 
Your doctor is not just practicing defensive medicine here, you are being encouraged to have a test that has little, if any, benefit and is truly wasteful. These types of recommendations are one reason our health expenditures continue to rise.  Sounds like this doctor may recommend this to all patients.
 
If I ordered this test and indicated the reason as "just in case he has heart disease," I could expect my cardiologists to throw up their hands in disgust. If this became my general practice, I would also expect to be dis-enrolled from all health insurance plans I might have participated in. This kind of advice can be truly harmful. I would change doctors to someone more in tune with modern medicine and modern cardiology.

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