• Beware of 'Medical Imaging' It's Over-Prescribed, Very Expensive and Dangerous to Your Health

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    No matter what
    your health complaint is, if you go see your doctor you might end
    up undergoing some kind of high tech imaging procedure such as cardiac
    angiography, CT (computed tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance
    imaging). According to a study published last fall in the journal
    Health Affairs, medical imaging has soared over the last
    few years across all types of these tests, doubling the annual medical
    cost per patient. In fact, the study confirmed previous reports
    that patients are far-too-often being subjected to unnecessary
    imaging.

    At least, most
    of these tests are minimally invasive and thoroughly studied to
    make sure they carry few risks so they are safe, right? Unfortunately,
    the answer is no. New reports of lasting, health-harming effects
    from some imaging tests are accumulating. A case in point: a new
    study just published in the Clinical Journal of the American
    Society Nephrology (CJASN) warns that seemingly minor and reversible
    kidney damage
    injury which can arise after undergoing certain common medical
    imaging
    procedures is a serious health
    threat. The reason? It is linked to a greatly increased risk of
    stroke, heart
    attack
    and death.

    University
    of Vermont physician Richard Solomon, MD, and his colleagues investigated
    294 patients with kidney disease who were exposed to contrast agents
    during cardiac angiography. Patients in this study, dubbed the CARE
    (Cardiac Angiography in REnally Impaired Patients) trial, were randomly
    divided with half receiving the contrast agent iopamidol and the
    other receiving the contrast agent iodixanol.

    Many medical
    imaging techniques, including cardiac angiography and CT
    scans
    , often involve the use of contrast agents, substances
    that contain iodine (like iopamidol and iodixanol) and barium, because
    they enhance the contrast between body structures or fluids within
    the body. This allows blood vessels and changes in tissues to be
    more clearly visualized.

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    the rest of the article

    August
    22, 2009

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