Cardiac Catheterizations: Too Many Performed?
Study Shows Many Patients Who Have the Procedure Don't Have Blocked Arteries
American Heart Association president Clyde Yancy, MD, agrees that such
studies are needed, but he says it is not clear from the current research that
too many cardiac catheterizations are being done.
"A test that fails to find something may be just as valuable as a positive
test," he says. "A negative test can reassure both the patient and the doctor.
It can also lead to less unnecessary treatment, which can save health care
The biggest predictors of clinically significant artery blockages in the
study were recognized risk factors for heart disease, such older age, being
male, tobacco use, and having diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood
Yancy says understanding these risk factors and addressing those that are
modifiable is the most important thing patients can do to lower their heart
attack and stroke risk.
"If an older male who smokes and is overweight and has diabetes walks into
my office, I already know there is a pretty high likelihood of [heart or
vascular] disease," he says.