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Many Medical Tests, Procedures Not Always Needed

New Public Service Campaign Questions Overuse of Commonly Ordered Tests

Who?s Involved in the New Campaign? continued...

Cardiologists say you probably don't need:

  • Exercise stress tests if you don't have symptoms or high risk of heart disease
  • Exercise stress tests or advanced imaging for routine follow-up exams if you don?t have any symptoms

Gastroenterologists say you probably don't need:

  • Any more than the lowest effective dose of antacids for long-term treatment of reflux (GERD)
  • Repeat colon cancer screening of any kind for 10 years after a screening colonoscopy finds no polyps or tumors
  • Repeat colonoscopy for five years after having one or two small polyps removed via colonoscopy

Radiologists say you probably don't need:

  • Imaging studies if you have uncomplicated headache
  • Imaging studies for pulmonary embolism if you don't have suspicious findings from other tests
  • CT scans in children with suspected appendicitis, until ultrasound has been considered
  • Follow-up imaging studies for ovarian cysts that aren't causing a problem

Allergists say you probably don't need:

  • Unproven tests -- such as IgG tests or a battery of IgE tests -- to find out what you are allergic to
  • Sinus CT scans or antibiotics for uncomplicated sinus infections
  • Routine extensive diagnostic testing if you have chronic hives

Expect more from the campaign in the future, says ABIM Foundation's Cassel: "There are already eight more specialties that want to be part of the second wave."


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