Should you get a cardiac stress test?

Heart disease remains the leading killer of humans. People want to be protected. The fast-thinking notion is early detection is good, the more knowledge, the better.

I wish it were that easy.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 6.51.10 AMWhat follows is my most recent post on WebMD on the basics of cardiac stress testing:

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A middle-aged surgeon recently asked me to do a stress test on him. Why? I asked. Are you having problems? No, he said. He simply wanted to have his heart checked out, to be sure.

I asked him a few questions. I learned he exercised vigorously almost every day. He had no chest pain, breathing problems, or dizzy episodes. He did not smoke, nor did he have high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol levels. Both of his parents lived well into their eighties.

When I told him getting a stress test was a bad idea, he looked at me funny. He said he didn’t want to die suddenly or have a heart attack.

To read the full post click on Do I Need a Stress Test

JMM

3 comments

  1. In the past 12 years I’ve had 5 stress tests. Two of them showed an area of ischemia where none exists. That seems like a pretty high percentage of false positives to me. It can happen.

    1. Hi Lisa
      With your backgound (which sounds like two false positives and three true negative stress tests in twelve years) it sounds extremely unlikely that any future stress tests would yield any more information than what could be provided by taking a history . If your doctor really thinks you do have heart disease or is undecided he should investigate in another way.

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