What are the risks of life line screening?


Quick Answer

The risk most inherent to Life Line Screening and other direct-to-consumer screening services involves the waste of money. Most people who are asymptomatic do not benefit from the health tests promoted and sold by Life Line Screening, according to an article published by the Journal of the American Medical Society.

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Full Answer

Although the Life Line Screening official website states that 90 percent of doctors are in favor of Life Line Screening, there is scant evidence that this is the whole truth. In a June 2011 JAMA publication, Kimberly M. Lovett, M.D. and Bryan A. Liang, M.D., Ph.D., J.D. conclude that most Life Line Screening and direct-to-consumer medical tests are unwarranted and that some may cause more detriment than benefit to low-risk, asymptomatic patients. Tests noted as causing more harm than good in the JAMA article include direct-to-consumer testing for atrial fibrillation, abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral artery disease and stenosis of the carotid artery.

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force strongly recommends against direct-to-consumer screening of the general population for asymptomatic disease due to the preponderance of false-positive test results that call for expensive additional testing. As a rare exception to this rule, the USPSTF does recommend direct-to-consumer testing for high-risk male tobacco smokers who are between the ages of 65 and 75 years.

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