Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Who Needs Minute Clinics?

...especially when you can order your own blood tests for heart screening online yourself?
HeathCheckUSA is proud to offer a heart check profile, which is essential for anyone concerned about their cardiovascular health. Even if you have no immediate concerns, a heart check profile is a good way to gauge your baseline levels for future comparisons. Our heart check profile combines many different of the following tests, which combined give you a good measure of your overall heart health. The combination of homocysteine, highly sensitive C-reactive protein, Chem-26, and the revolutionary VAP (Vertical Auto Profile) cholesterol profile makes our Heart Check Profile the most comprehensive cardiovascular disease assessment HealthCheckUSA offers.
Yee hah! Can't wait to see all those people who've gotten false positive results in my clinic! I mean with over 30 blood tests being performed, what are the odds someone will have one abnormal test if we estimate there's is a 2% false positive or false negative rate? About 60%!!! Yee hah! Better than even odds!

But their "comprehensive cardiovascular disease assessment" misses what's really needed - a good history and physical. From the Third report of the National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel's report (ATP-III):
"The identification of cholesterol disorders in the setting of a medical examination has the advantage that other cardiovascular risk factors—including prior CHD, PVD (peripheral vascular disease), stroke, age, gender, family history, cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, obesity, physical inactivity—co-morbidities, and other factors can be assessed and considered prior to treatment. At the time of physician evaluation, the person’s overall risk status is assessed. Thus, detection and evaluation of cholesterol and lipoprotein problems should proceed in parallel with risk assessment for CHD."
And the "VAP®" test they claim is so superior for detecting cholesterol? It's not recommended as a screening test for the general population. Period. From Atherotech's own website:
When used judiciously, the improved LDL-C accuracy and additional ATP III information provided by the VAP cholesterol test can be used to better identify and manage individuals at elevated risk for CHD. (i.e., not as a screening test) The conventional Friedewald calculated profile is recommended for patient screening.
So save your money. And if you're really concerned about your health, see your doctor.

-Wes

1 comment:

Clinical electrodes said...

Great article! I have heard time and time again that you should always just go to your doctor if you have any concerns. With our technology the way it is today it is so tempting to just Google your ailment, but it is always best to just see the doctor! Thanks again!