USPSTF: ECG not needed for CVD screening in asymptomatic adults

  • JAMA

  • curated by Emily Willingham, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Screening with ECG is not necessary in people with low risk and no symptoms of cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to new recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).
  • The USPSTF also has found that evidence is lacking to determine risk-benefits of ECG in asymptomatic adults at intermediate or high CVD risk. 

Why this matters

  • This recommendation updates the task force’s 2012 recommendations about using ECG to screen for coronary heart disease.
  • 3 editorials accompany the article, noting limited change from 2012 recommendations and consonance of these recommendations with guidelines from other groups.
  • 1 editorial goes so far as to suggest that the USPSTF has “created a straw man that is easy to knock down.”
  • A patient page provides an accessible visual and text explanation of the recommendation.

Key points

  • Recommendation applies to asymptomatic adults without CVD.
  • Asymptomatic adults with low CVD risk (10-year CVD event risk,
  • ECG does not seem to change risk status using common risk scores.
  • Harms are possible with overuse of ECG, including consequences of any invasive testing that might follow.
  • For asymptomatic adults with intermediate/high CVD risk, evidence remains insufficient to establish risk-benefit of ECG as part of screening.

Study design

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