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Many people get unnecessary heart screening tests: Consumer Reports

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Consumer Reports rates heart disease screening tests in a new online offering.

The introductory message is:

“When it comes to screening tests for heart disease, more is not always better. Some people get tests they don’t need while failing to get those they do. To help you choose the tests that are best for you, based on your age, gender, and risk level, here are our Ratings of heart screening tests.”

So, for example, for men ages 45-54, on the question of “Do benefits outweigh risks?”:

• 2 are rated “Very likely”

• 1 is rated “Likely”
• 2 are rated “Uncertain”
• 4 are rated “Unlikely”
• 4 are rated “Very Unlikely”

The site also includes a heart attack and stroke risk calculator.

A Consumer Reports blog piece explains a poll that shows – not surprisingly – that many people are getting unnecessary heart screening tests.

This is why we criticize stories like the one in Prevention magazine that promoted several heart disease screening tests without a balanced review of the evidence. (Note: Our criticism of that piece was just highlighted in this week’s edition of the Health Wonk Review.)

This morning, Duff Wilson of the New York Times has a blog entry on the CR report as well.

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