The import of commercials increasingly aired on radio and television
is unmistakable: a potential time bomb is ticking inside all listeners. That
bomb is cardiovascular disease (CVD), such advertisements warn, but for only
$499 anyone can defuse the situation by receiving a full-body computed tomographic
(CT) scan to detect the disease—or bring peace of mind.
Many cardiologists are troubled by these pitches. They note the lack
of scientific evidence to support the idea that such scanning offers improved
sensitivity, specificity, and cost-effectiveness over traditional diagnostic
methods. Still, a number of heart specialists believe that noninvasive imaging
is about to become an important tool for CVD detection in certain populations,
and not just a money-making device that preys on the fears of the general
public. They call for large clinical trials to validate imaging and bring
it into the mainstream of CVD diagnostics.
Mitka M. Imaging to Diagnose Cardiovascular Disease. JAMA. 2003;289(3):288-289. doi:10.1001/jama.289.3.288