A Plan to Save Lives in Heart Month

February 9, 2015 3:19 PM

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In February we focus on heart health with Valentine's Day and Go Red for Women campaigns. After 25 years of practicing interventional cardiology, I remain puzzled by a dilemma. At age 50 we screen for colon cancer by looking at the colon directly through a scope, breast cancer by imaging the breasts, prostate cancer by palpating it, and gynecological cancers by internal inspection. For heart disease, the No. 1 killer in the Western world, we perform a history and physical, perhaps an EKG, and some lab work. How can we compare these indirect heart assessments, far removed from examining the actual arteries, to the methods of detecting these other pathologies?

Let's review a few facts well known to cardiologists but likely secrets to the lay public. For years, the concept of an executive physical stress test has been promoted. In reality, it hasn't been promoted or recommended by the American College of Cardiology. In fact, the American College of Cardiol...

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