By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - I am a big fan of technology in medicine when it can be used effectively, but I have concerns when it drives up costs and may not be any better than less expensive tests that we already have.
I doubt that anyone would argue that CAT scans are a great tool that have saved millions of lives over the years, but what about the so-called total body CAT scans that, among other things, pick up calcium in the coronary arteries and produce scores that help determine heart disease risk?
According to a new report in the American Family Physician, the test is no better than existing tests, the costs are high and it does not impact patient outcomes. The article points to other studies where people with calcium scores that showed no significant risk were followed and 20% had greater than 50% blockage.
Technology can be great but it is not always the answer.