Reuters gauges hype during Heart Month: lists 5 tests you might NOT need

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Frederik Joelving and Genevra Pittman of Reuters Health tag team a solid piece of consumer health journalism in which they remind readers:

February is American Heart Month and consumers will be bombarded with advice to keep their ticker healthy — whether it’s from the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women or the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s The Heart Truth.

Doctors may suggest a screening test to make sure cardiovascular health is in top shape. But if a person lacks symptoms — like chest pain or shortness of breath — they might want to hit pause for a second and look closer at the costs and benefits.

The fact is, there is no good evidence that any of the common tests are that helpful if a person is symptom-free.

They then tick off the list and try to address “What is it?…Does it work?…What’s the harm?” for:

  • electrocardiogram
  • carotid ultrasound
  • echocardiogram
  • stress test
  • cardiac CT scan

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