MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
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.