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how often do i need to get a heart screening

A heart screen is one of the essential annual tests for heart patients and people at high risk for heart disease. Advancements like 3-D screenings have made it easier to assess and diagnose patients in need of treatment. Before these improved techniques were available doctors had to use a different kind of diagnostic formula; predictability calculations called sensitivity and specificity.

Sensitivity & Specificity

how often do i need to get a heart screeningThis is really a balance of effectiveness and accuracy.

Sensitivity shows how well a diagnostic test works. Specificity tells you how accurate the results are. This information translates to a predictive value or, the percentage of patients who will test either positive or negative.

Specialists are able to use these figures to determine a patient’s odds.


Think of this as an exam where all of the answers are based on true-false questions:

• True positive-a patient has a disease and the test accurately shows that.
• False negative-a patient has a disease, but the test is inaccurate.
• True negative-the test shows the patient is disease-free.
• False positive-the test result is positive when the patient is disease-free.

Now, it’s time to calculate; starting with sensitivity.

And the answer is…

The calculations are done in two different groupings.

First, the true positives and false negatives are added together. Then that number is divided by the true positives. This result is the sensitivity prediction, or, the percentages of patients with a disease with accurate tests versus those that are misdiagnosed.

Repeat the calculation using the true negative and false positive figures to find the specificity prediction, or, the percentages of patients who are actually disease-free versus those that are misdiagnosed.

When compared to a heart screen, this method may seem old-school, but it’s still used to calculate statistical odds and treatment viability in medicine today. When you think about it, if it weren’t for medical math like this, we wouldn’t have screenings at all. Schedule your heart screen at a clinic today.

Dr. Seldon, a Heart Doctor and Cardiologist in New York City, offers same day appointments and all testing is done on site. Call us at (212) 367-8000.



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