British Heart Patients Subjected to Expensive and Risky Tests

21 June 2009 (Last Updated June 21st, 2009 18:30)

Tests for heart disease patients in the UK are inadequate, expensive and risky, wasting around £40m every year by referring thousands of patients for tests that are not required, experts say. Patients complaining of chest pain are put through initial tests followed by an angiogram but ab

Tests for heart disease patients in the UK are inadequate, expensive and risky, wasting around £40m every year by referring thousands of patients for tests that are not required, experts say.

Patients complaining of chest pain are put through initial tests followed by an angiogram but about 40% of angiograms show no result, implying unnecessary test costs of up to £1,000, UK newspaper The Telegraph reports.

In addition to this, an estimated one in ten of those with chest pain perform well on the initial tests and are discharged but are in fact suffer from arteries which are up to 90% blocked, The Wellington Hospital's Professor Avijit Lahiri said.

Lahiri said that imaging is scarcely used in the UK compared to other countries, and suggested CT scans as a better option than angiograms since they are more accurate and cost effective.