Physical examination as dependable as high-tech diagnosis

September 17th, 2008 - 12:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 17 (IANS) High-tech diagnostics may be popular among doctors but good old fashioned physical examination is just as dependable and accurate, says a University of Texas study. “Our study touches upon an important clinical question: If physicians were more adept at performing histories and physicals, would they rely less on more costly diagnostic tests?” asked Mark Drazner, medical director of the University’s Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation Program.

Nearly 390 patients went through physical examinations at the Evaluation Study of Congestive Heart Failure and Pulmonary Artery Catheterisation Effectiveness (ESCAPE) trial, reports Eurekalert.org.

Their findings were recorded on a standardised form. About half also underwent an invasive right-heart catheterisation to measure how much fluid they had in their body.

Researchers found that the estimates of the amount of fluid from the history and physical exam compared favourably to the results of high tech measurements.

Additionally, patients who were estimated to have extra fluid through the collection of histories and physical exams were found to be at increased risk of being hospitalised or dying over the next six months.

“Hopefully, this study might shift the pendulum back just a bit towards using the history and physical examination in patient care,” said Drazner.

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