Features January 2009 Issue

Do You Need a Stress Test Before Stenting?

A stress test assesses how serious your heart problem is, but may not be necessary in some patients.

A recent study suggests that many patients may not get the stress test the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends prior to percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI), such as stenting and angioplasty. A stress test can weed out patients with minimal symptoms who may not need risky invasive procedures, but Stephen Ellis, MD, Section Head of Invasive/Interventional Cardiology at Cleveland Clinicís Heart and Vascular Institute, says the study findings may reflect the fact that the test isnít always accurate: "I think the main reason stress tests arenít more often used is that theyíre generally considered quite unreliable."

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