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Heart Health

“Just in case” heart tests can do more harm than good

January 7, 2011
  • By Patrick J. Skerrett, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health

About the Author

photo of Patrick J. Skerrett

Patrick J. Skerrett, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health

Pat Skerrett is the editor of STAT's First Opinion and host of the First Opinion podcast. He is the former editor of the Harvard Health blog and former Executive Editor of Harvard Health Publishing. Before that, he was editor of … See Full Bio
View all posts by Patrick J. Skerrett


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December 17, 2011

A diet study of around 600 people was conducted over a 14 year period. The results revealed that participants who were ‘overweight’ had a 34% greater chance of heart failure and dying, than someone at their ideal weight. Participants who were obese had a massive 104% increase in the risk of heart failure over someone at their ideal weight.

Its easy to see why the word diet has the word “die” in it.

AJ Smith
July 27, 2011

I would agree that invasive screening procedures probably wouldn’t be good to do very often but I don’t see the harm in performing tests that are of no risk to the patient if it would help motivate them to get on an elliptical machine and improve their heart health.
[URL removed by moderator]

July 25, 2011

I can empathize with the point of view, however some tests are invasive and risky and others are not. Why not perform the non-invasive if they can provide insight into a condition.
However, with the elderly, one must consider all activities as risky if the patient is frail.

April 1, 2011

Good scare tactic article. Keeps the cardiologists/surgeons in business.

Any screening for heart disease gives people the knowledge about their bodies and the incentive or scare they need to clean up their acts/diet/lifestyle/smoking cessation. Most docs say people won’t change. I beg to differ. So would Bill Clinton and Tim Russert. RIP

I’m 100% for non-invasive calcium score screening for heart disease. This allows patients to monitor their progress.

It appears to be a premature decision for the risky invasive angiogram.

No mention of whether any info was even gleaned about the “suspicious area of the LAD”.

February 25, 2011

This one is good information about Archives of Internal Medicine. Thanks for sharing such useful information. To the world readers specific to Australians would like to draw attention that now it’s easy to online purchase gym equipments like kettlebells, Treadmill, Elliptical Cross Trainer, exercise bike etc.

Morgan Wheler
February 1, 2011

Great post. I shared this amongst some friends and colleagues.

January 8, 2011

This is a must read for all. Ignorance is the greatest desease.

Commenting has been closed for this post.

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