It's common for doctors to give older adults an electrocardiogram (ECG) test, whether at rest or on the treadmill (what's called a cardiac stress test). But now experts are advising against us receiving those tests unless we have specific symptoms that suggest we have heart problems.
The US Preventative Services Task Force—a panel of expert doctors who the government asks to make recommendations on such matters—just came out with the announcement that routine electrocardiography, whether at rest or on a treadmill, is not recommended for adults without coronary symptoms. There isn't evidence that these tests help asymptomatic people, and significant evidence that the tests do harm by leading to unnecessary further testing and invasive procedures that pose risks.
This recommendation comes on the heels of the same group's headline-making that doctors should stop giving men the PSA blood test to screen for prostate cancer, because it winds up hurting more men than it helps.
Here is the official consumer fact sheet on the Task Force's recommendations about electrocardiography and cardiac stress tests.
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