On Monday an expert government panel, the United States Preventive Services Task Force, joined the call by recommending against routine testing with electrocardiograms, or EKGs, in people who have no known risk factors or symptoms of heart disease, like shortness of breath or chest pains. The recommendations, published online in Annals of Internal Medicine, made the test the latest addition to an expanding list of once routine screening tools that have fallen out of favor. Earlier this year, the task force advised against regular screening with the prostate specific antigen, or P.S.A., blood test, long considered the gold standard for early detection of prostate cancer. The panel has also come out against measures like annual Pap smears for many women and regular mammograms for women in their 40s.
Saves money! What could be the possible downside?
I’m aware of a case where someone showing no symptoms asked for an EKG because they watched what happened to Andrew Breitbart, and didn’t want it to happen to them. The EKG revealed a potential issue, leading to more testing. Ultimately, atherosclerosis was ruled out, but testing indicated an issue with cardiomyopathy.
Problems like this can be addressed . . . but not if you don’t know you have them.
Policies like failing to deport criminal illegals, or certain lenient criminal justice policies, or elimination of medical tests . . . these all sound great to certain crowds in the abstract. The only trouble is that they actually kill people.
P.S. If you’re over 40 and you are concerned you might have heart disease, get yourself checked out. Do it before ObamaCare makes it impossible.