Cardiopulmonary exercise test avoids needless patient referral

Atlanta 26 March 1998 Patients displaying symptoms like shortness of breath and chest pain, in most cases immediately are referred to a hospital for invasive testing, by the primary care physician. AccuMed Systems, an Atlanta-based mobile diagnostics telemedicine company, now has developed innovative equipment for a cardiopulmonary exercise test to help the practitioner in determining the exact causes of the emerging symptoms in order to make a correct diagnosis. The computerised diagnostics present a safe and cost-effective procedure to gain knowledge on the source of the symptoms, thus avoiding a possibly superfluous and expensive patient referral.

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Patients displaying symptoms like shortness of breath and chest pain, in most cases immediately are referred to a hospital for invasive testing, by the primary care physician. AccuMed Systems, an Atlanta-based mobile diagnostics telemedicine company, now has developed innovative equipment for a cardiopulmonary exercise test to help the practitioner in determining the exact causes of the emerging symptoms in order to make a correct diagnosis. The computerised diagnostics present a safe and cost-effective procedure to gain knowledge on the source of the symptoms, thus avoiding a possibly superfluous and expensive patient referral.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the major causes of death in the United States. About 20% of the American population suffers from one or more types of CVD, such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, valvular heart disease, or cardiomyopathy. The cardiopulmonary exercise test indicates that about half of the short-winded patients simply are having a bad physical condition and urgently need supplementary exercise or a change in their behaviour. The risk factor for CVD can substantially be reduced if people are prepared to modify their habits by getting more physical training, quit smoking, cooking less fat meals and trying to avoid over-weight.

Thus, the metabolic exercise test can assist the primary care physicians in their differential diagnosis and prevent the deconditioned patients from being needlessly sent to a health care facility for further testing. Public and private health insurers already fully promote risk factor modification and are willing to reimburse for combined cardiopulmonary exercise and pulmonary function tests. Initial correct evaluation of the patient's physical condition by the practitioner indeed is saving them a whole lot of money.


Leslie Versweyveld

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