If I Have A Negative Stress Test Do I Still Need To Worry About Heart Disease?

Question: If I have a negative stress test do I still need to worry? I heard Bill Clinton had a negative stress test and soon after that he had to have open heart surgery? How does that happen?

Answer: Well, no test is perfect. Certainly a stress test is a very good screening test in most cases for most patients for the presence of significant coronary artery disease.

It has to do a lot with what type of stress test; some are more sensitive than others. And also of course, there's ongoing disease. You may have a negative stress test one year and six months down the line, or a year down the line, your arterial disease can progress. And that may account for President Clinton's issue, how he might have had a negative test one time and then still had significant coronary artery disease.

So I do believe that generally you can feel safe, but nothing is perfect, and again, it's an ongoing process that you have to keep with close follow-up with your cardiologist or internist.

Next: If Stress Tests Are Not 100 Percent Accurate, Why Shouldn't My Doctor Just Order A Cardiac Catheterization?

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