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AHA: Small Increase in Cardiac Stress Testing 2005 to 2012

Findings among nationally representative cohort of commercially insured patients aged 25 to 64 years

stress test

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 16, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Among a nationally representative cohort of commercially insured patients there was a small increase in the rate of cardiac stress testing from 2005 to 2012, according to a study published online Nov. 15 in JAMA Cardiology. The research was published to coincide with the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, held from Nov. 12 to 16 in New Orleans.

Vinay Kini, M.D., from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined trends in rates of cardiac stress testing in a serial cross-sectional study using administrative claims from members aged 25 to 64 years belonging to a national managed care company from 2005 to 2012.

The researchers found that from 2005 to 2012 there was a 3.0 percent increase in the rates of cardiac stress testing (P = 0.01 for linear trend). From 2005 to 2012 there was a 14.9 percent decrease in the use of nuclear single-photon emission computed tomography (P = 0.03). There were increases in use of stress echocardiography (27.8 percent from 2005 to 2012; P < 0.001), exercise electrocardiography (12.5 percent from 2005 to 2012; P < 0.001), and other stress testing modalities (65.5 percent from 2006 to 2012; P < 0.001).

"Our findings suggest that observed trends in the use of cardiac stress testing may have been driven more by unique characteristics of populations and health systems than national efforts to reduce the overuse of testing," the authors write.

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