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October 2, 1972

Precision Over Convenience

JAMA. 1972;222(1):85. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03210010065017

Once, we praised the nontraumatic approaches to assessing cardiac performance. However, additional experience and new facts constantly modify our views. Today we deem it necessary to emphasize the fact that not all noninvasive or nontraumatic techniques are superior. The elegance, the simplicity, and the patient-acceptability of the noninvasive techniques still attract the investigator. However, precision should prevail over convenience; correct measurement of biological signals and proper interpretation of diagnostic information are of the utmost importance.

Certain tests interfere with the normal physiology of the measured variable, or they represent a distorted view of the physiological function. Such tests should be downgraded in favor of the less convenient, less patient-acceptable but more correctly and easily interpretable diagnostic biological methods.

Speaking about observation of cardiovascular functions, Weinman1 distinguishes two groups of measurements— those performed by invading the biosystem and those in which the sensor is kept outside of the system. An