Medical Tests & Procedures

Medical Tests & Procedures Articles

Chest pain that's not a heart attack

Costochondritis is caused by inflammation of the cartilage between the ribs and the breastbone. This uncommon condition can trigger a stabbing, aching pain that's often mistaken for a heart attack. (Locked) More »

Do you need a calcium scan?

Coronary artery calcium scans, which can reveal dangerous plaque in the heart’s arteries, are now recognized by guidelines and being are used more often than in the past. Results from the scan may help refine or reclassify a person’s risk of heart disease. But the tests don’t make sense for everyone. People who already have heart disease should not have a calcium scan, nor should people at low risk, which includes most people under age 40. Instead, the scans are an option for people who fall in between. This borderline and intermediate risk group includes people ages 40 to 75 whose 10-year risk of heart disease or stroke ranges from 5% to 20%. More »

Feel healthy? You still may be at risk for heart disease

Even if people believe they are in excellent health, they could still be at risk for a heart attack or stroke, suggests a new study that compared self-reported health scores with coronary artery calcium scans that measured plaque buildup in the arteries of the heart. More »

Closing in on tinnitus treatments

Tinnitus is a ringing in the ears that occurs with age. It may be triggered by impaired hearing, leading to diminished sound impulses moving along the auditory nerve between the ear and the brain. In some people, the brain tries to compensate for this loss of input by turning up internal volume and tuning into background sounds in the brain. Tinnitus can be difficult to treat. There’s no way to measure it directly, which is needed for diagnosis and effective treatment. Researchers are working to identify a physical signature for tinnitus by using measurements of the pupils and brain activity. More »

Dealing with high-density breasts

High breast density is a risk factor for breast cancer that is typically detected on a mammogram. The FDA is proposing that mammography facilities tell women if they have high density, but there are no definitive rules in place that tell doctors how to best manage these women to reduce risk. Some strategies you can use if you have high breast density are to have a conversation with your doctor about breast cancer risk and reducing alcohol use. (Locked) More »

New insights about inflammation

Inflammation plays a key role in the development of atherosclerosis, the root cause of most heart disease. A blood test for inflammation, known as the hsCRP test, can predict heart disease just as well as LDL cholesterol testing. Two recent studies of different anti-inflammatory medications in people with heart disease are helping researchers zero in on new ways to prevent heart attacks and related problems. But the quest for effective treatments to lower inflammation is still a work in progress. More »

Shortness of breath: A common symptom with many possible causes

Shortness of breath can result from a range of problems, but heart or lung conditions are usually to blame. Sudden breathing problems may be a heart attack or pulmonary embolism, which require immediate attention. Breathing problems that come on more gradually and during physical activity may be caused by aortic stenosis or heart failure. Worsening breathing problems with coughing may be chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which often coexists with heart disease. (Locked) More »