Medical Tests & Procedures

Medical Tests & Procedures Articles

A different type of heart attack

A small percentage of heart attacks result from a tear in the inner wall of one of the heart’s arteries. Called spontaneous coronary artery dissection or SCAD, it’s the most common reason for acute coronary syndrome in women under 50. Expanded awareness of heart disease in women and improved diagnostic tools have increased recognition of SCAD. The typical person with SCAD is a middle-aged, healthy woman with few or none of the classic risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes and high cholesterol. While the exact cause isn’t entirely clear, most people with SCAD have some sort of abnormality in the blood vessels outside the heart, including a rare condition called fibromuscular dysplasia. (Locked) More »

Atrial fibrillation: Shifting strategies for early treatment?

For people recently diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, starting with treatments aimed at controlling the heart’s rhythm may be better than the usual approach of starting with rate-controlling medications. Rhythm-control strategies, which include medications or a minimally invasive approach known as catheter ablation, may lead to fewer hospitalizations, strokes, and heart attacks than the rate control strategy. Usual care most often starts with rate-controlling drugs and switches to rhythm control only when a person has persistent symptoms, which can include dizziness, breathlessness, and fatigue. (Locked) More »

Certain foods and drugs may lower risk of colon cancer

Study results looking at a link between certain drugs, supplements or dietary approaches and a lower risk of colon cancer are mixed. However, some studies do suggest an association between NSAID use and high intake of fruits, vegetables and fiber with lower colon cancer rates. More »

Predicting low-risk prostate cancer

Men who follow active surveillance for managing their low-risk prostate cancer can now use two online calculators to estimate if their cancer will become aggressive in the future. Men can share this information with their doctor to help establish new strategies regarding when they should have PSA tests and biopsies, and whether to continue active surveillance. (Locked) More »

Radiation after prostate cancer surgery may not be necessary

Many men who have surgery to remove a cancerous prostate receive radiation therapy afterward to wipe out any residual cancer. Alternatively, men can delay radiation and be monitored for signs of returning cancer. New research found that both strategies have similar outcomes. More »

Our evolving understanding of the problem with plaque

New imaging techniques that use light or sound waves to create images of the inside of coronary arteries have helped researchers better understand the fat-laden plaque that builds up inside artery walls (atherosclerosis). Most heart attacks happen when small, inflamed areas of fatty plaque rupture suddenly, causing a clot that blocks blood flow. This may explain why treating large, obstructive plaques with stents or bypass surgery does not seem to prevent heart attacks or help people live longer. (Locked) More »

Slightly leaky heart valves

A small amount of leakage (regurgitation) from the mitral or tricuspid valve is normal. People with either condition do not need to modify their activity levels, but they should stay alert to symptoms that suggest the problem is worsening. (Locked) More »

Unlocking the mystery of chronic pelvic pain syndrome

Chronic pelvic pain syndrome—also known as chronic prostatitis—is one of the most puzzling conditions for older men. Because the cause is unknown and there is no defined strategy for treatment, doctors often take a trial-and-error approach to managing the common symptoms like pain, sexual dysfunction, and urination problems. These include different types of medication, physiotherapy, stress management, exercise, and diet modification. (Locked) More »

Why do my legs swell at the end of the day?

Leg swelling, also called edema, is caused by fluid buildup in the soft tissues beneath the skin. Modifying certain medications, keeping feet elevated when sitting, and wearing compression stockings can all help manage the condition. (Locked) More »

Beyond "bad" cholesterol: A closer look at your blood lipids

For assessing heart disease risk, a standard cholesterol test doesn’t always tell the whole story. Some people with "normal" LDL cholesterol levels might benefit from a test that measures apolipoprotein B (apoB). This test, which measures the number of LDL particles as well as other particles that can contribute to clogged arteries, may be a better indicator of heart disease risk than just an LDL cholesterol value. (Locked) More »