A CBS Early Show segment on “three heart tests all women should know about” actually claimed that heart CT scans involved no radiation! And this involved a physician-correspondent!
Excerpts of the story review on HealthNewsReview.org:
This was classic morning show health news garbage.
“Three heart tests that all women should know about”? “All” suggests that even women without symptoms should be thinking about these tests. But the segment later says that the tests are only for women with symptoms, but then never gives a detailed description of these symptoms.
So viewers are left with another high-tech showcase: stress echocardiograms, screening ultrasounds, and CT scans looking for calcium in the coronary arteries – the menu for the morning news-viewing woman.
Does CBS and its physician-correspondent realize that the term “screening” (which they used in reference to ultrasounds) does not apply to those with symptoms?
So which women – precisely – should think about or pursue these tests? Those with symptoms – or those without symptoms?
On top of everything else, the segment included a glaring, unforgivable error. It said that the three tests involved no radiation – implying that they are harm-free. But a cardiac CT scan has an average radiation dose equivalent to 600 chest x-rays!!! In addition, according to a 2007 study in JAMA, there is an increased risk of breast cancer in women having the test due to the radiation dose. And this segment was all about women having these tests.
Who is responsible for this content?
Is this news? Is this public education? Or is it just another meaningless medical marvel morning show segment that fails to quantify benefits or talk about harms or acknowledge costs?