Echocardiography & Family History

Every so often I’ll get a sheet in the mail with the ad that tells of body scans being held at the local Hilton or some such hotel. I hope that Quagdop will see this!

My father @71 just had a quintuple bypass. No heart attack, was just feeling funky, went to the doctor and it’s like “geez, we gotta do this NOW”. I now know that my father’s side of the family is rife with heart disease.

I have decent BP readings, don’t think my cholesterol is excessive, but I’m almost 40, female and I smoke.

Are these sort of tests beneficial for me? They have all kinds now…geez, I don’t think I want the cancer screens, mainly because they don’t look at the lungs, but I’m considering the echocardiogram and maybe a carotid ultrasound.

Has anyone here experienced any of these tests? Are they real? I’d love to hear about your body scans!

I actually work with (and under) some cardiologists, and if you were to walk into their office with an echo, telling them it’s yours, and it looks like something’s wrong, at best they’re probably going to give you another echo. At worst they’ll give you the name of a good psychiatrist they know and bring up things like conversion disorders.

Why not cut out the useless steps and get a checkup with your primary care physician? Tell them what you just told us, and see if you need to be referred to a cardiologist.

Aw geez, are you telling me they’d think I had a mental disorder? It’s certainly not attention grabbing. I must not understand what you mean. I do understand though your suggestion to see my primary provider. I just don’t like her much! Kaiser isn’t the greatest in the world. :dubious:

Well, like I said, that is a worst-case scenerio, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility some doctors might think a person was being a bit hysterical if he or she preemptively knocks on their door with walk-in-echocardiography results in their hand and concerns about bypass surgery. I wouldn’t share their oppinion if that were the case, I’m just pointing that out as one possible outcome.

Anyhoo, echocardiography actually isn’t that big of a deal. The equipment can be reasonably compact and portable. I know because I’ve done some echo myself (not on people, but animals, which can actually be more difficult to scan, because they can be so much smaller). You can really get a huge amount of information just from the echo, both structural and functional, and it’s a wonderfully accessible and indispensible tool for cardiology.

I really don’t know anything about getting echo or EKG’s or whatever in a hotel ballroom, but it’s entirely possible that the instrumentation for those and other diagnostics could be packed up and lugged around for such purposes; and there’s nothing saying a bunch of qualified techs and other specialists who could perform such tests on you mightn’t be sent out to perform such “total body” scanning of the sort you describe, and do a perfectly adequate job of it. But what then? Can you really trust it? What’s their liability? If the answer is “zero”, then I’d say, in principle, you can’t. And if they say they think you’ve got a problem, you’re just going to get the same thing done again in somebody else’s office.

By and large, this type of screening has not been shown to be of any benefit, and may even confer increased risk (the latter by so-called “false positives” which lead to unnecessary tests). This is especially so with some other tests such as those that check for “calcification of the arteries”, CT scans, and the like. I will dig up a cite shortly.

In symptomatic individuals (eg. with fainting, breathing difficuty, unexplained swelling, etc.), an ECHO makes sense.

In special cases, an asymptomatic individual might also benefit from an ECHO (eg. family history of premature and sudden death).

All IMHO of course. YMMV.

There’s a cite, at least with respect to whole body CT, in my post within this thread (about whole body CT).