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Study Suggests Diagnostic Tests Do Little To Reassure Patients With Low Risk Of Serious Illness

JAMA Internal Medicine Study Highlights

, M.B.Ch.B., University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and , M.D., of , Scotland, conducted a review of the available and meta-analysis to examine the relationship between diagnostic tests and worry about , anxiety, symptom persistence and subsequent use of health care resources among patients with a low probability of serious before the test.

Fourteen 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.