Harvard Women's Health Watch

Making smart screening decisions: Part 3: Cardiac screening tests

Learn which heart screening tests you need, and which ones aren't worth the cost.

With about five times as many women dying from heart attacks as from breast cancer, cardiac screening should feature prominently on our list of health concerns. Even so, we don't necessarily need to have every cardiac screening test that's available to us. Dr. Loryn Feinberg, director of the Women's Cardiovascular Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, explains which tests we need—and which ones could expose us to unnecessary risks.

Do healthy women over age 50 with no obvious heart disease risks need routine cardiac screening?

Guidelines from the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, and U.S. Preventive Services Task Force do not recommend screening EKGs or other routine imaging tests in women who do not have heart disease risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or smoking. If you develop symptoms of heart disease, then you may need testing.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »