When the evidence doesn’t support your doctors recommendations for necessary care.
Imagine you have chest pain and you go to the hospital, but the chest pain comes and goes and is on the left side; most of us likely may believe we are having a heart attack. The truth is that statistically, only about 5% of those who visit the hospital are having a cardiac event, and the rest are likely symptoms of other conditions, with the most common being muscle spasm.
Many of us after being released by the hospital are likely to breathe a sigh of relief, but others no doubt will visit a cardiologist. Others, may have symptoms such as shortness of breath and may also visit a cardiologist for the same reason.
The next stop if the ECG and the stress test. What if these tests indicate something is possibly wrong? Your doctor is likely to order a more invasive procedure or an imaging study to look at the blood vessels in the heart to make sure they are open and that you are not as risk for a heart attack.
The tricky thing about heart attacks is that an artery that is partially closed may never result in a heart attack, especially in a healthy individual, yet a doctor may recommend a stent to open the artery.
Placing a stent in an artery is quite common, but there are risks. With healthcare costs through the roof, why are so many unnecessary procedures based on fear being recommended and how can you be a knowledgeable healthcare consumer, when faced with what seems like a life and death decision? Is it time for a second opinion?
Here is an article that discusses the fear factor of a partially clogged artery; should you have a stent put in and is there a benefit? Apparently, current studies are now showing that the risk of a heart attack is the same with and without the stent, so is there any value at all for doing this? What would you do and if it isn’t broken, but the doctor says it is, what would you do?
Check out this interesting article in The Atlantic
When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes
Long after research contradicts common medical practices, patients continue to demand them and physicians continue to deliver. The result is an epidemic of unnecessary and unhelpful treatments.
First, listen to the story with the happy ending: At 61, the executive was in excellent health. His blood pressure was a bit high, but everything else looked good, and he exercised regularly. Then he had a scare. He went for a brisk post-lunch walk on a cool winter day, and his chest began to hurt. Back inside his office, he sat down, and the pain disappeared as quickly as it had come.
That night, he thought more about it: middle-aged man, high blood pressure, stressful job, chest discomfort. The next day, he went to a local emergency department. Doctors determined that the man had not suffered a heart attack and that the electrical activity of his heart was completely normal. All signs suggested that the executive had stable angina—chest pain that occurs when the heart muscle is getting less blood-borne oxygen than it needs, often because an artery is partially blocked.