Bill Weir's Second Opinion

A famous doctor inspires a backlash -- and defends his diagnosis and the pricey test he used.
3:00 | 10/24/12

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Transcript for Bill Weir's Second Opinion
If you are a Nightline regular Myron call a certain story I did about a famous doctor and his belief that medical technology could help -- illness as we know it's. After volunteering to sample his cutting edge test I was stunned when he told me that I had the kind of heart disease that can kill me soon. A walked away convinced that this random assignment save my life but. Ten months later I've heard from a number of doctors who aren't so sure so tonight a reevaluation. And a trip and of the confusing expensive world the -- American patients. Know all too well. -- They'll have a seat. The moment of truth as Saturday that is part of view the moment that -- -- to the core happened -- -- -- Beverly Hills morning in January you know -- the unfortunate truth is you do have some heart disease now. First -- Actually flash to an image of my -- spreading ashes of the same -- or -- -- my dad. Second -- I deserve this. You see for my first four decades security secret arrogant -- That I was little. Chair exercise but I can't remember my last check about him haven't doctor yeah -- like salad. -- my food pyramid has built mostly with racks of ribs and -- six -- And now after a ride and a full body CT scanner. I had Las Vegas circling spots on the screen and describing the price of all that willful ignorance. These lesions in significant arteries in the heart -- heart attacks in the near term. So we all hear read in the paper about the 45 year old who went jogging in died of a heart attack these are the things we worry about. Since even described as a rock star of medicine and -- colleges to the likes of Lance Armstrong Ted Kennedy Steve Jobs. A -- his words to heart. Started seeing a specialist taking -- Staten and eating better but I also started hearing from all the other well respected doctors who believe that that life saving moment. It was just bad medicine. You know when I saw that piece in and saw that in -- action have -- -- broke my heart. The idea is that someone would say to you based on that that you could drop -- from a heart attack. There's just nothing to -- to support them. In the new paperback edition of his mega best seller the end of illness doctor Vegas uses my case to defend his ideas. But also devotes many pages answering his many critics I'm a little bit shocked by -- the pushed back about both positive and negative on the book. But he truly is a -- of people are talking my education came. In the controversy over the CT body scanner yes looking back do you believe that -- saved my life. I believe that test put intervention into your place when you change your behavior and what you're doing so that is a good potentially -- save your life. You know -- experts in cardiology I talked to say that. It's just not the data to support that my ABC news colleague doctor Richard investor is the former acting head of the centers for disease control and he's in the camp that believes that expensive tests like the one that found. Plaque in my heart. Can often do more harm than good. Aside from the radiation risk the results are often confusing or misleading. Which could lead to more expensive and risky tests which is why the American Heart Association and the FDA would never recommend this test. For someone without symptoms. Someone like me it change -- being. -- put them preventable and is a major power to that it did it I am wrestling with whether. My cholesterol score on a piece of paper or -- good wise chat with a doctor I trust would -- the same. Impact but the more research I've done I mean according to. New England Journal medicine came out. Talking about calcium scores high risk is 300 low risk is -- below 100 -- -- was less than fifty. Right that anybody with greater than ten. Has be -- chance compared to the average of the cardiovascular disease but there are people who have a zero score would die of cardiovascular there's no question about it. And there are people who lived to be a hundred have plenty of plaque buildup it's it's not as cut and dry as no question that if you have your going to die if you don't change its relative weakness it's all shades of -- a cynic would say you were you using me to sell your book I don't believe. I think you believe what you believe. But welcome -- I don't know I get such different diagnosis different because. You didn't fit -- -- -- risk criteria that being said I think the respiratory must be -- because you had a heart disease most four year olds don't have it you did. It's -- you can argue the technology and the means to do it but we picked up something that could save your life. This whole episode demonstrates the constant Tug of war with in Madison. One -- determined drive patients to the latest technologies another taking a more cautious approach until decades of data makes sense of at all. I gotta say what worries me more than anything is not my emotional roller coaster is that our story did more harm than good for the general public. I have a lot of doctors should tell me that's the case. You know the good is is that angry UK created discord and I've gotten thousands of emails from doctors who supported also. And including some of the leadership of American Heart Association. And no one argues what the core wisdom of Vegas -- book that is eat fresh food get planning -- sleet moved throughout the day. And learn as much as you can about your family health history. All of them common sense steps that do not require a thirteen hundred dollar radioactive -- -- So many of the things in his his book are on target but he is incredibly confusing because you're gonna hear different opinions. From different doctors and basically what people want is is the truth. And the truth is kind of a moving target. By the way doctor I -- tells me all profits from the end of illness will be donated to medical research.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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