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Editorial
April 11, 2012

Should the Resting Electrocardiogram Be Ordered as a Routine Risk Assessment Test in Healthy Asymptomatic Adults?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Departments of Preventive Medicine and Medicine, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.

JAMA. 2012;307(14):1530-1531. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.441

The routine or screening electrocardiogram (ECG) appears to be a common office procedure, even in the current era of cost-conscious health care. In 1989, Sox et al1 summarized the existing evidence concerning use of the resting ECG as a screening test. The authors concluded that additional study was needed, including a randomized study of the resting ECG as a screening test to provide a measure of its health effects, and called especially for studies in patients older than 65 years, because the prevalence of coronary artery disease in asymptomatic persons increases with age. The authors stated that “the final word on the value of a screening ECG has yet to be said, but we feel that the arguments for doing it as a routine practice are not compelling at this time.”1

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