Some Critics Say Treadmill Stress Testing Not Needed
Treadmill stress testing for patients who lack symptoms or risk factors for heart disease is under attack.
The American Academy of Family Physicians says doctors shouldn't order annual electrocardiograms or cardiac screening for low-risk, symptom-less patients.
The American College of Physicians agrees, saying, "Don't obtain screening exercise electrocardiogram testing in individuals who are asymptomatic and at low risk."
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force agreed in July.
They're on target for low-risk, asymptomatic patients, two local cardiologists said. Doing the test routinely for those patients will cause more false positive results, particularly in women, said Dr. Zaheed Tai, an interventional cardiologist at Gessler Clinic in Winter Haven, FL.
For patients who do have risk factors or symptoms of heart problems, however, a treadmill test with EKG monitoring is valuable.
Nuclear imaging would be used if a baseline, non-exercising EKG isn't normal, said Dr. Avinash Khanna, a cardiologist at Lakeland's Clark & Daughtrey Medical Group.
Diabetes and peripheral artery disease are major risk factors for heart problems.
Other risks include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, being overweight, being physically inactive and a family history of early heart disease.