A study conducted on Veterans Affairs patients found that most American heart patients get their cholesterol levels checked unnecessarily.
It's always good to be cautious and take precautionary measures pertaining to health but one should not overdo it. A study conducted on Veterans Affairs patients found that most American heart patients get their cholesterol levels checked unnecessarily. This is not only a waste of time, but also a waste of money, says Dr. Michael Johansen of The Ohio State University in Columbus, who calls the findings of this study "very surprising."
Dr. Salim Virani of the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston looked at over 35,000 people with heart disease. All these people had their "bad" cholesterol under control and were not prescribed any new cholesterol drug in the recent past. Dr. Virani found that one in every three patients opted for a cholesterol re-test 11 months after their most recent cholesterol test, reports Reuters. Among these patients, only 6 percent of them had any alterations made to their treatment regime as a result of the second test.
Though the American Heart Association does recommend that heart patients should get their cholesterol levels checked every four to six months, Johansen says there's no need for a follow-up test just 11 months later as most patients are already on a cholesterol-lowering statin.
The study found that one network consisting of seven hospitals spent $200,000 in one year only on cholesterol blood tests. Additionally 13,000 new tests were performed at about $16 each, bringing the total cost up to almost $204,000.
"Apart from the costs associated with these lipid panels, this also carries with it the cost for the patient's time to undergo a repeat blood test and cost for the health care provider's time to follow up on these results after redundant testing and to inform the patient about these results," U.S. News & World Report quoted Virani as saying.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every six Americans has high cholesterol, which causes heart problems.