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August 11, 1956


JAMA. 1956;161(15):1442-1446. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970150010003

• An opportunity to submit to a battery of tests designed to detect cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, visual and auditory defects, and certain metabolic disorders was offered to 7,000 urban adults. The tests were taken by 2,024 people, and 1,281 were found to have one or more of the abnormalities concerned. The program was carried out with the cooperation of local and state medical societies, and a complete copy of the results was sent to each screenee's physician. A program of interviews and follow-up procedures was necessary to make sure of optimum results.

The study yielded valuable data as to the relative usefulness of various screening procedures. The serologic test for syphilis was found to be a useful screening test for groups in which the prevalence of syphilis is high; the screening of men for anemia, on the other hand, was a relatively unproductive procedure. As a screening test for heart disease, the chest roentgenogram proved to be of low sensitivity and did not discover as many previously unknown cases of heart disease as did the electrocardiogram. Multiple screening was found to be a procedure of promise, but it will require modification and development before it can be widely used.