[ RadSafe ] CT screening of symptomless persons

parthasarathy k s ksparth at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Nov 2 23:38:05 CST 2005

Dear Dr. Jacobus,
This is a query on " CT screening of symptomless persons"- a service provided by many CT scan centers which accept self referrals to carry out the tests. What is the current status in this practice which was not supported by many professional associations?
Gina Kolataof the NYT reported that the bubble of commercial screening bursted. I am making this query in light of a recent development in India. 

Recently, a medical diagnostic center in India have invited patients to their institutions by publishing the following  advertisement in a leading daily in mumbai:


" 50% of the people who die of heart attacks have no previous history of cardiac problems. This is because heart disease is a silent killer, and is not usually not detected until it is too late. But now you can change that with a short visit.(....Clinics name..) has new state -of- the- art equipment  that can evaluate your heart vessels in 8 secs.....This technology is completely nonsurgical, and can detect blockages in the blood vessels and timely intervention can help prevent a heart attack. 


If you or your loved ones are affected by any of these risk factors, ask your doctor or visit us for a check up


* smoking

* stress

* Diabetes


*high blood pressure

*family history of cardiac illness

*Erratic lifestyle(long working hours, pressure etc.)


Act now and ensure the health of your heart'


This advertisement contained colorful pictures of heart and blood vessels. One of the advantages stated was "regular monitoring or check up possible, being nonsurgical", there by encouraging periodic scans! The  word "nonsurgical" appeared fourtimes in the ad!!


Also the hospital has included "stress" and "erratic life styles" (whatever that may mean!) which are "universal" as risk factors thereby extending the tests to all.


I shall be very grateful to you if you kindly send responses to the following questions:


1. Has this clinical tool reached a stage now where it can be used routinely to diagnose symptomless patients. 

2. Many professional associations including The American Heart Association, American College of Radiology, HPS and AAPM are against using CT on asymptomatic patients. US FDA has also advised physicians against such over use. The professional associations in India  are not taking a stand .


What can be done under the circumstances?


With best regards


K.S.Parthasarathy Ph.D

(formerly, Secretary, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board)

Raja Ramanna Fellow

Department of Atomic Energy

Room No 18

Ground Floor, North Wing

Vikram Sarabhai Bhavan

Mumbai 400094

E-mail ksparth at yahoo.co.uk

91+22 25555327

91+22 25486081

9869016206 (mobile)






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