Medical Tests & Procedures Archive


Blood test shows promise as simple test for Alzheimer's disease

A 2023 study suggests a blood test that looks for a specific biomarker may help identify people with Alzheimer's disease who may benefit from anti-amyloid therapy long before the disease is evident.

3 ways to streamline your health care visits

Three strategies can help decrease the number of days one must devote to medical appointments. The first is eliminating unneeded care, such as screening tests for people at low risk for certain conditions. The second strategy is coordinating various doctor visits, tests, or imaging for the same day. The third strategy is using telemedicine in place of appointments that would normally happen in person, such as mental health care visits or routine appointments for diabetes or high blood pressure.

When the heart suddenly starts racing

Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia is caused by an electrical glitch in the heart's upper chamber that causes the heart rate to suddenly soar for no apparent reason—sometimes as high as 200 beats per minute. The condition, which people describe as palpitations or a fluttering sensation in the chest, is usually not dangerous. But long-lasting bouts can lead to lightheadedness, breathlessness, and fainting.

New urine test may help some men with elevated PSA avoid biopsy

When a PSA test produces an abnormal result, the next step is usually a prostate biopsy, but these have drawbacks. Researchers are exploring strategies to avoid unnecessary biopsies, and a test that screens for prostate cancer in urine samples has shown promising results in testing.

Trending now: Home sleep tests

Home sleep tests are often the preferred approach to detect obstructive sleep apnea. They use less equipment and cost less than studies done in sleep labs. Because people get to conduct the test in their own beds, they are more comfortable than they would be in a sleep lab, and the test is more likely to capture a person's natural sleep habits. But the tests aren't always accurate. And someone with a serious chronic condition, such as heart failure or a breathing disorder, might need additional data from an in-lab study.

Repairing a thoracic aneurysm

A thoracic aortic aneurysm (a weakened area in the wall of the upper section of the aorta) may require surgical repair if it grows too large. Aneurysms in the area called the descending aorta can sometimes be repaired with a less invasive endovascular technique.

Concern about rising calcium score

A calcium score is a good indicator of how much plaque is inside the heart's arteries. Treatments can replace cholesterol in plaque with scar tissue, which contains calcium and produces a higher calcium score, but this stabilized plaque lowers heart attack risk.

The colonoscopy diet

It's a good idea to eat a certain diet before and after a colonoscopy. Eating a low-fiber diet a few days before the procedure helps move foods through the colon quickly, which can make colon prep easier. On the day before the procedure, it's important to consume only clear liquids (such as broth or bouillon, black coffee, plain tea, clear juices, clear soft drinks or sports drinks, Jell-O, and popsicles). After the procedure, it's safe to resume a normal diet. But eating too much fiber too quickly might cause gas, bloating, and discomfort. It might be wisest to restart a normal fiber-rich diet gradually.

New research shows little risk of infection from prostate biopsies

Infections after a prostate biopsy are rare, but they do occur. There are two ways to perform such a biopsy, with the one at higher risk of infection more common in the US. Researchers conducted a trial designed to compare the safety of the two methods.

Do you need to check for narrowed arteries in your neck?

The carotid arteries, which run up the sides of the neck, can become clogged with plaque—a condition called carotid stenosis. But a carotid artery ultrasound to look for this problem is advisable in only a few specific circumstances, mostly in people with signs or symptoms of carotid stenosis. One sign is a distinctive whooshing sound called a bruit that a doctor can hear through a stethoscope placed over the artery. The tests are also routine in people who experience symptoms of a transient ischemic attack (TIA), or ministroke, which usually last only briefly.

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