JAMA Internal Medicine Study Highlights
Alexandra Rolfe, M.B.Ch.B., University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and Christopher Burton, M.D., of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, conducted a review of the available medical literature and meta-analysis to examine the relationship between diagnostic tests and worry about illness, anxiety, symptom persistence and subsequent use of health care resources among patients with a low probability of serious illness before the test.
Fourteen randomized controlled trials that included 3,828 patients met the criteria to be included in the study. Three trials showed no overall effect of diagnostic tests on illness worry, two showed no effect on nonspecific anxiety and 10 trials showed no overall long-term effect on symptom persistence, according to the study results.
“Diagnostic tests for symptoms with a low risk of serious illness do little to reassure patients, decrease their anxiety or resolve their symptoms, although the tests may reduce further primary care visits,” the authors conclude.
JAMA Intern Med. Published online February 25, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.2762.