How often are you asked for an opinion as to whether a particular test is worthwhile.
Instances here might be vitamin D or more commonly, a coronary artery calcium score (CACS).
The first cardiologist who used this, and openly discussed the benefits, was high-profile Dr. Ross Walker in Sydney.
His colleagues really gave it to him with all the usual venom and scorn saved for a fellow health professional who thinks outside the square.
Maybe it involved professional jealously too.
Dr. Ross has been unwavering in his ongoing assessment of cardiovascular risk in patients seeking clarification of their quality-of-life risk factors.
Interestingly, The University of Queensland has come out and insisted that the CACS should be a “GP go-to guideline for absolute cardiovascular risk management and a major tool for screening”.
A rather pertinent comment was also made…..”some elderly people and those with chronic kidney disease and diabetes are currently being incorrectly classified as high risk”.
Does this concern you?
Do you get involved in patient care where issues like this arise?
Should we give an opinion?
I find it rather disconcerting when patients are given no say in their own health.
Is this fair?
Reasons for say, no vitamin D testing fall into two camps:
“No, you don’t need it – it’s unnecessary” with no reason given.
“No, you can’t afford it” – offensive and demeaning.
Additionally, younger patients who have a heart attack are missing out on identifying their cardiovascular risk.
If the CACS was routinely carried out, less deaths might occur.
I wonder if apologies will be forthcoming from those who vehemently and publicly opposed the CACS principle.
So, what’s in it for us as part of the healthcare team?
Let’s get involved, discuss blood test results with our patients and help them to understand that they can become empowered, whether the system likes it or not.