Skip to content Skip to navigation

Study: Curtailing Imaging Tests Could Help Prevent Cancer

October 9, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

A study from researchers at the New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center concluded that a reduction in cardiac stress imaging tests would not only lower costs for patients but decrease radiation exposure as well.

In fact, the researchers estimate that approximately 500 people each year get cancer each year in the US from radiation received during a cardiac stress test. Most of those people, researchers say, didn’t need radiological imaging tests in the first place.

“Cardiac stress testing is an important clinical tool but we are over using imaging for reasons unrelated to clinical need. This is causing preventable harm and increasing healthcare costs,” stated lead author of the study, Joseph Ladapo, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Departments of Medicine and Population Health at NYU Langone. “Reducing unnecessary testing also will concomitantly reduce the incidence of radiation related cancer.”

Dr. Ladapo and his colleagues reached their conclusions utilizing data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) from 1993 to 2010. They looked at patients with coronary heart disease who were referred for cardiac stress tests.

From between 1993 and 1995 until 2008 until 2010 the number of cardiac stress tests with imaging grew substantially. By 2008-10, 87 percent of all cardiac stress tests had an imaging component. Researchers say that about one-in-three of those tests were probably inappropriate, with associated annual costs and harms of $501 million and 491 future cases of cancer.

Ladapo says that clinical decision support tools need to be utilized to reduce the number of image-based cardiac stress tests.



CMS Hospital Compare Website Updated with VA Data

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the inclusion of Veterans Administration (VA) hospital performance data as part of the federal agency’s Hospital Compare website.

CMS Awards Funding to Special Innovation Projects

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded 20, two-year Special Innovation Projects (SIPs) aimed at local efforts to deliver better care at lower cost.

Center of Excellence in Genomic Science to be Established in Chicago

The National Human Genome Research Institute has awarded $10.6 million over five years for the establishment of a new research center in Chicago to advance genomic science.

EHNAC and HITRUST Combine HIPAA Security Criteria, CSF Framework

The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) and the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) announced plans to streamline their accreditation and certification programs.

Halamka on MACRA Final Rule: “CMS is Listening and I Thank Them”

Health IT notable expert John Halamka, M.D., CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, recently weighed in on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) final rule.

Texas Patient Care Clinic Hit with Ransomware Attack

Grand Prairie, Texas-based Rainbow Children's Clinic was the victim of a ransomware attack on its IT systems in August, affecting more than 33,000 patients, according to multiple news media reports this week.