Medical Tests & Procedures Archive

Articles

Lynch syndrome: Reclaiming power

Lynch syndrome is an inherited condition that predisposes people to colorectal, uterine, ovarian, and other forms of cancer. Genetic testing can pinpoint Lynch syndrome, and genetic counseling is also recommended. People with Lynch syndrome need frequent cancer screenings and should watch for symptoms. Women with Lynch syndrome are also advised to undergo risk-reducing surgery that removes the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus between ages 35 and 40, unless a woman is planning another pregnancy.

Living with heart disease? Avoid unnecessary testing

For people with chronic coronary disease who do not have symptoms, new guidelines recommend against routine testing with cardiac CT angiography, echocardiography, and stress testing. The results are unhelpful—and in some cases harmful. Unclear results often general additional testing or unnecessary procedures, including some that expose people to radiation for no reason. In addition, the tests add expense without any corresponding benefit, and these costs are increasingly being passed back to patients, in the form of copayments or higher premiums.

Can I improve my ejection fraction?

Ejection fraction is the fraction (expressed as a percentage) of the blood that the heart "ejects" out to the rest of the body when it contracts. Low ejection fraction signals one form of heart failure. An echocardiogram is the standard test to measure ejection fraction.

Simpler way to test for true penicillin allergy

A 2023 study found that an oral penicillin challenge in a doctor's office provides a simple method of determining true penicillin allergy.

FDA approves new surgical treatment for enlarged prostates

A transurethral resection of the prostate is considered the gold-standard treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia. But newer, less invasive procedures offer faster recovery times and fewer risks of complications. Earlier this year another new procedure won the FDA's approval.

Genetic profiling for heart disease: An update

A polygenic risk score for heart disease is based on an analysis of more than three million common DNA variants and is expressed as a percentile. People can have zero, one, or two copies of any variant, each of which may either raise or lower the risk of coronary artery disease. Many of these variants occur in genes known to affect heart disease, such as those related to cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood clotting. Others aren't well understood and may provide targets for future research, potentially fueling new drug discovery efforts. For now, the potential benefits of this test are greatest for people under 50.

An inside look at body fat

As men age, their metabolism naturally slows, and they burn calories more slowly. They can be less active and consume extra calories. The result is a buildup of visceral fat inside the abdominal cavity and around vital organs. This can raise heart disease risk factors, such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and total cholesterol levels. The best way to fight visceral fat is with aerobic exercise, strength training, and a healthy diet that includes plenty of protein.

An elevated high-sensitivity troponin level

Troponins, which are proteins found in heart muscle cells, are released in the bloodstream during a heart attack. Other conditions, such heart muscle inflammation and chronic kidney disease, can also cause troponin levels to rise.

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