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Some Common Medical Tests May Not Be Necessary

(Credit: AP)

(Credit: AP)

(Source: KDKA-TV) Dr. Maria Simbra
Dr. Maria Simbra is an Emmy award-winning medical journalist, who...
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CBS Pittsburgh (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSPittsburgh.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSPittsburgh.com/Health

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Some medical specialty groups are saying you should be asking your doctor if some common tests and procedures are really necessary.

  • Pre-op Chest X-Rays

For example, do you need a chest x-ray before outpatient surgery? If your physical exam is normal, you do not. Getting a chest x-ray does not make the surgery go any more smoothly and it exposes you to unneeded radiation.

“Some physicians are stuck in a long tradition of practice patterns, that for many years, this is how it’s been done. But it turns out as it has been studied, it’s been found not to be helpful and patients’ outcomes are not affected,” says Dr. Marc Itskowitz, an internist at Allegheny General Hospital.

  • Annual Cardiac Stress Test

Will a yearly cardiac stress test help your doctor take better care of you? If you’re otherwise healthy, no.

“It may make the person feel better, that they had a stress test which was fine, but it doesn’t really add any other value,” says AGH cardiologist Dr. Srinivas Murali.

  • CT Scans and Antibiotics for Chronic Sinusitis

How about a CT scan or antibiotics for a chronic sinus infection? Generally, it will go away in two weeks if you don’t do anything at all. If you got a CT — all you would see is inflammation anyway.

“But it will not distinguish between viral causes and bacterial causes, so it really does not help change our therapy,” Dr. Itskowitz points out.

  • Brain Scans After Fainting

And after fainting, do you really need a head scan? There’s no evidence that people who get the high tech pictures do any better.

This is just a sampling. The complete list includes 45 tests, treatments and procedures that should not be automatic.

The idea behind these recommendations is to make patient care safer, improve quality and decrease the overuse of health care resources.

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