Non-Invasive Echocardiograms Can Be Overused Leading To Increased Costs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Quinn R Pack, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine at University of Massachusetts Medical School - Baystate Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine Tufts University School of Medicine

Dr. Pack

Quinn R Pack, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
University of Massachusetts Medical School –
Baystate Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine
Tufts University School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Because echocardiograms are non-invasive, very low risk, and nearly universally available, it is easy to over-use this technique.  In myocardial infarction, echo is also recommended in guidelines.

However, in our lab, we frequently find echocardiograms that are ordered purely out of routine, without any thought as to the likelihood of finding an abnormality.   Prior studies also suggested that as many as 70% of echocardiograms provide no additional diagnostic value. When spread across the approximate 600,000 patients in the United States each year, this low diagnostic yield represents an opportunity to reduce costs by reducing echocardiograms. 

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Transthoracic Echocardiograms: Most Lead to No Appreciable Change in Patient Care

Susan Matulevicius, MD, MSCS  Department of Medicine, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, DallasMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Susan Matulevicius, MD, MSCS

Department of Medicine, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Matulevicius: In our cohort of 535 transthoracic echocardiograms performed at a single academic medical center, we found that the majority (92%) of echocardiograms were appropriate by the 2011 Appropriate Use Criteria; however, only 1 in 3 echocardiograms lead to an active change in patient care while 1 in 5 resulted in no appreciable change in patient care.
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