Profit rather than science is driving cardiac tests, says US consumer group

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 09 August 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5113
  1. Jeanne Lenzer
  1. 1New York

Profit rather than science is behind the large number of tests and procedures for heart disease carried out in the United States, concludes a new report from the independent consumer group Consumer Reports. These procedures are endangering the health of many people who are at low risk of developing heart disease, it says.

A survey carried out for the report of 8056 members of Consumer Report, aged 40 to 60, found that nearly half (44%) of those at low risk of heart disease had undergone at least one screening test, such as electrocardiography, an exercise stress test, or carotid artery ultrasonography.

Around 600 000 percutaneous coronary interventions are done each year in the US, at a cost in excess of $12bn (£7.3bn; €8.5bn). …

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