Medical Tests & Procedures

Medical Tests & Procedures Articles

Gene testing for antiplatelet drug response

A genetic test can determine how well a person might respond to the antiplatelet drug clopidogrel. But so far, it’s not clear whether the test results can help guide a person’s treatment or improve health outcomes. (Locked) More »

Harnessing big data to help the heart

Advanced technologies are beginning to transform doctors’ ability to screen for cardiovascular disease. Examples include the analysis of data from smartphones and other devices using machine learning to predict a person’s risk of disease. Two promising applications include retina scans to predict heart disease and pulse monitoring with a smartwatch to detect atrial fibrillation, a common cause of stroke. Possible future applications include capturing varied data from electronic health records, such as electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, blood test results, and genetic information. (Locked) More »

Should I get tested for hepatitis C?

People born between 1945 and 1965 (baby boomers) should be tested for hepatitis C, as recent improvements in treatment have increased the interest in identifying people with the virus who have no symptoms and no additional risk factors. (Locked) More »

The ears have it

At age 65, one out of three people has a hearing loss. Studies have shown that hearing loss can increase a person’s risk of injuries as well as cause everyday communication problems. An ear and hearing exam can help a doctor diagnose a person’s hearing loss, identify possible causes, and determine whether the person needs hearing aids or another type of hearing assistance. More »

Treatments for breast cancer may harm the heart

Women treated for breast cancer may face a heightened risk of heart disease from the effects of chemotherapy and radiation. But physicians known as cardio-oncologists can offer strategies to both prevent and treat heart damage from cancer therapy. These include echocardiograms before and after treatment to monitor any possible abnormalities, as well as changes to medications such as statins and blood pressure drugs. Physical activity may also decrease the risk of heart injuries related to breast cancer treatment. (Locked) More »

Understanding COPD from a cardiovascular perspective

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes damage to the air sacs of the lungs (emphysema) and inflammation in the lung’s airways (bronchitis). Some of the symptoms of COPD, such as trouble breathing, fatigue, and chest tightness during physical activity, may be mistakenly attributed to heart disease. Smoking increases the risk of both heart disease and COPD. Current or former smokers should consider getting tested for COPD with a simple lung function test known as spirometry. More »

When a stroke strikes

Updated stroke treatment guidelines suggest that more people who experience strokes caused by a clot in a large blood vessel may qualify for a clot-retrieving procedure. The change may prevent or limit brain damage from these devastating events. However, people must meet strict criteria to receive the clot-retrieval therapy, and there is a shortage of specialists trained to perform the procedure. (Locked) More »

Zap away atrial fibrillation?

Recent guidelines for treating atrial fibrillation have shifted a procedure called catheter ablation more to the forefront of therapy choices. It uses a thin, flexible tube to zap faulty electrical pathways in the heart. Catheter ablation is an option for people with intermittent or persistent atrial fibrillation who have troubling symptoms that aren’t relieved by medication. Symptoms can include a fluttering or thumping sensation in the chest, breathlessness, dizziness, anxiety, weakness, fainting, confusion, and fatigue. (Locked) More »