Stress Test, Often Skips Before Angioplasty

More than 50 percent of cardiac patients in America, who undergo angioplasty don’t get the suggested cardiac stress tests earlier, Medicare data shows.

These tests are necessary for those patients, who likely to have angioplasty or stenting, but just 44 percent of them got the test.

“We didn’t expect to find 100 percent, but we expected a much higher percentage than 44,” said Dr. Rita F. Redberg, professor of medicine at the University of California,

Redberg, the study leader, collected the medical records of approximately 24,000 people who had elective PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention or angioplasty).

In general recommended stress test, patient walks on a treadmill to check heart function, which should be performed in such cases. But records reveal that, just 44.5 percent of patients had stress tests before the PCI. There was variation in percentage, involving factors like, patient characteristics and the age of the doctor performing the PCI.

The regional frequency of stress testing ranged from 22.1 to 70.6 percent, the researchers noted, with doctors in the Northeast and Midwest performing best. Stress tests were least performed for women, anyone 85 years of age or older, or patients having other illnesses, such as congestive heart failure (CHF), lung disease or rheumatic disease.

“We have a number of different scientific documents come out, that situation may be clarified by new guidelines expected to be released shortly by the American College of Cardiology. The college is about to release appropriateness criteria that say that in such-and-such a situation, a PCI would be appropriate,” she said.

Stress Test, Often Skips Before Angioplasty
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