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Editor's Correspondence
April 11, 2011

Bayesian Thinking: A Safer Tool for Reassurance

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2011 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2011

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(7):702-710. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.111

Becker et al1 tell a cautionary tale of a patient who, despite a low probability of coronary artery disease (CAD) undergoes noninvasive testing with cardiac computed tomography angiography (CCTA) for the purpose of “reassurance.” The positive test finding is followed by testing of escalating invasiveness, producing harm culminating in the need for an emergent orthotopic heart transplant. The case demonstrates a failure to use Bayesian thinking.