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Regular Departments
September 1979

Routine Chest Roentgenograms and ECGs in Hypertension

Arch Intern Med. 1979;139(9):1061. doi:10.1001/archinte.1979.03630460091029

To the Editor.—  In their editorial in this issue of the Archives, Drs Frohlich and Dustan take a strong stand in support of routine chest x-ray films and ECGs in the series of studies for hypertension. They contend that since these studies are frequently abnormal, the results are important and should be used to aid management of the patient's condition. They also argue that the knowledge of normal results is extremely useful.We think that the data in our article1 clearly showed that the abnormalities uncovered in these routine studies were frequently of a nonspecific nature. It is hard to conceive how the finding of nonspecific ST-T segment changes, fully 36% of the ECG abnormalities, could be used for prognosis or management. Similarly, 58% of the chest x-ray film abnormalities were old granulomatous disease, tortuous aorta, and fibrosis, findings of questionable value for patient or physician. Furthermore, none of