Faculty Tom Gaziano joined other experts in discussing the value of commonly-recommended screening tests in an NBC TODAY article, “5 Medical Tests You Probably Don’t Need”. The article lists screening tests that may cause more harm than good in healthy people, because of false positive results that lead to more invasive tests and sometimes unnecessary treatment, as well as the financial burden on patients.
Among the tests that may be unnecessary in people who are healthy and have no symptoms are annual EKGs, yearly blood tests, whole-body MRI scans, exercise stress tests, and prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests.
Gaziano contributes two caveats to this conclusion, where annual EKG’s can be found useful to diagnose abnormal heart rhythm and atrial fibrillation, and blood tests are recommended of you are obese or have high blood pressure. People who are obese or have high blood pressure can benefit from blood tests for diabetes, said Gaziano. He also noted that being unnecessary for screening does not imply that tests have no use. EKGs are useful for diagnosing conditions such as abnormal heart rhythms, in people who have symptoms, though this is different than screening healthy people.