Extra heart testing might be needed by depressed people

Extra heart testing might be needed by depressed peopleA new Canadian study states that patient's anxiety and depression into account when doctors diagnose potential cardiac problems when ordering heart tests.

To look for coronary artery disease, an ECG stress test is often used. While patients exercise on a treadmill, during the test, electrodes from an electrocardiography machine are connected to the patient.

According to the study, heart disease could be falling under the radar in the ECG tests in people affected by anxiety or depression.

Over 2,000 patients with ECG as well as a more expensive and sensitive procedure known as nuclear exercise stress testing, or SPECT, were tested by researchers in Montreal.

Study author Prof. Simon Bacon of the department of exercise science at Montreal's Concordia University said, "When patients with anxiety had both tests done, nearly 25 per cent of the patients did not seem to have heart disease based on the ECG but were found to have the disease when we looked at the SPECT results. This means that a number of people may be under-diagnosed if they only have the ECG test."

A diagnosis of heart disease about 20 per cent of time the ECG is missed among patients without anxiety.