A new report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that those who have been screened for heart disease receive increased follow-up treatment, including medications, without any positive effect on the condition even after 18 months.
Researchers, led by Dr John McEvoy of the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, Baltimore, selected 1,000 patients who had undergone coronary computed tomographic angiography (CCTA) test at a hospital in South Korea and a similar number of had chosen not to take the test and compared medication use, surgical restoration of the blood supply or revascularization, secondary test referrals and cardiovascular incidents.
Around 215 patients among those who had been screened were found to have atherosclerosis and were more likely to be prescribed medicines on their initial visit and asked to come back for further testing. Such patients also underwent revascularization even though they did not experience any cardiovascular events.
"Physicians and patients may dramatically change practice based on CCTA findings. Thus the potential benefit of increased medication use in the CCTA group is tempered by the risk of further testing in low-risk patients without any evidence-based indication", the researchers wrote in their report.