Study Suggests Angiograms Are Ordered Too Frequently

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests doctors may be ordering unnecessary angiograms thus exposing patients to radiation that is not warranted. The study of 400,000 patients concluded that nearly 40% of them did not need an angiogram. According to Manesh Patel, a cardiologist at Duke University and one of the study’s authors suggests better diagnostic tools are needed in order for a reduction in unnecessary procedures such as angiograms.
“We need to improve all the things we do before we get to the cath lab,” Patel said in a telephone interview. “But we need more large-scale studies to give doctors the guidance they require to make these calls.”
The spike in imaging tests exposes patients to more radiation than ever before. According to David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University in New York, Americans are exposed to twice as much radiation today as they were 30 years ago.
The increase in such invasive procedures such as angiograms has also led to an increase in healthcare costs without the benefit of improved outcomes.