Long-Term Population-Based Study on Echocardiography Has Flaws

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Due to the length of this study, many definitions and recommendations have been updated. According to HealthFair CMO, this study does not accurately show the echocardiogram as a valuable tool.

A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association titled Echocardiographic Screening of the General Population and Long-Term Survival: A Randomized Clinical Study1 was supposed to present medical evidence against the use of the echocardiogram in a population-based study design.

“In my opinion, after careful review, there are several flaws in the basic premise of the article. The flaws include: the primary and secondary questions being asked to be answered, the length of the follow-up, the kind of follow-up, and the overall conclusions,” stated Dr. Robert Oristaglio, Chief Medical Officer of HealthFair. “The echocardiogram is an invaluable tool. It helps guide management decisions, can be prognostic and should be used very early in the evaluation of an at-risk individual.”        

Echocardiography has seen a progression expansion of its use and indications over the past decade. It provides a great deal of valuable information, and is quite helpful in the overall evaluation of patients. However, it has never been used, not back in 1974 when this study commenced nor through 2007 when the study appears to have ended, to answer the primary and secondary questions proposed in the study: not in an unselected, population based cohort.

During the first twenty years of the study, there are issues with the definition of risk factors identified, as well as the medications used; the follow-up of the participants and their overall compliance with appointments and medications; and the compliance of the treating physicians. Then there are the problems with the ultimate levels considered proper for blood pressure, blood sugar, weight, and so forth.

Today, high blood pressure is defined slightly differently as for the blood pressure goal to achieve; abnormal lipids, that is cholesterol, are defined differently as well as the goal for reduction; same for blood sugar control and weight control. Today there are more aggressive recommendations for smoking cessation, weight reduction, blood sugar control, and cholesterol reduction. Furthermore, the medications which have been developed over the past decade are far better and far more powerful than those used 15 to 30 years ago.

“It is not any wonder why a population-based study over thirty years looking at the outcomes mentioned above, would be skewed?” stated Dr. Oristaglio.

Dr. Orisatglio comments further on this study at http://healthfair.com/echocardiogram-is-an-invaluable-tool/.

About HealthFair:

HealthFair is a national health and wellness company that empowers individuals with affordable access to preventive healthcare. The Company’s broad range of preventive tests allows clients to proactively take control of their healthcare through the early detection and management of risk factors that can lead to longer and healthier lives. The Company’s goal is to save and extend lives, reduce costs and improve national healthcare by testing one million participants per year by 2020. For more information, visit http://www.healthfair.com.

LeAnn McDonald
Healthfair, Public Relations & Communications Director

1 http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1718443

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LeAnn McDonald
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