Expensive Tests to Evaluate Syncope Don't Yield as Much as Simple Postural BP — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
July 28, 2009

Expensive Tests to Evaluate Syncope Don't Yield as Much as Simple Postural BP

In evaluating syncope in older patients, simpler less-expensive tests are more likely to affect diagnosis and treatment, according to an Archives of Internal Medicine study.

Researchers examined medical records in some 2100 consecutive admissions of patients aged 65 or older presenting to an emergency room with syncope. The researchers determined which tests affected diagnosis or management, and they calculated the costs incurred for each management-changing test result.

Postural blood pressure measurement had the highest yield, but was performed in only about a third of cases. Its use incurred about $20 in cost for each positive result. Other, more frequently performed tests, like EEGs ($33,000), head CT scans ($25,000), and cardiac enzymes ($22,000), were much less efficient in yielding useful information. Postural BP measurements affected management or diagnosis about 25% of the time, whereas some of the more expensive tests affected practice in less than 5% of cases.

Your Comment

(will not be published)

Filtered HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Do you have any conflict of interest to disclose?
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Vertical Tabs

* Required

Reader comments are intended to encourage lively discussion of clinical topics with your peers in the medical community. We ask that you keep your remarks to a reasonable length, and we reserve the right to withhold publication of remarks that do not meet this standard.

PRIVACY: We will not use your email address, submitted for a comment, for any other purpose nor sell, rent, or share your e-mail address with any third parties. Please see our Privacy Policy.