Electrocardiogram doesn’t predict heart ailments, says US govt panel

Testing electrical activity of the heart using an electrocardiogram is unlikely to help doctors figure out who is at risk of coronary heart disease, according to recommendations from a US governmentbacked panel.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force wrote on Monday that there's no good evidence the test, also known as an ECG, helps doctors predict heart risks any better than traditional considerations such as smoking , blood pressure and cholesterol levels in people with no symptoms.

"It could potentially be helpful if we had evidence that doing a test like an ECG or an exercise ECG would better classify the people who are at high risk of heart disease ," said Joy Melnikow, a member of the task force from the University of California , Davis.

The team, which published a statement in the Annals of Internal Medicine, recommends against ECG screening of people considered at low risk for heart disease and says there's not enough information to rule one way or the other on those at intermediate or high risk.

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