Echocardiographic Screening of the General Population and Long-term Survival: A Randomized Clinical Study

OBJECTIVES: To examine whether echocardiographic screening in the general population improves long-term survival or reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

METHODS: We studied 6861 middle-aged participants from the population-based Tromsø Study in Norway. Participants were randomly allocated to an echocardiographic screening group (n = 3272) or a control group (n = 3589). Using the as-treated approach, the data were analyzed for mortality and incidence of fatal and nonfatal myocardial infarction and stroke.

RESULTS: During 15 follow-up years, 880 persons (26.9%) in the screening group and 989 persons (27.6%) in the control group died (hazard ratio, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.89-1.06). No significant differences between the groups were observed in the secondary outcome measures (sudden death, mortality from any heart disease, or incidence of fatal and nonfatal myocardial infarction and stroke).

CONCLUSIONS: Echocardiographic screening for structural and valvular heart disease in the general population provided no benefit for mortality or for the risk of myocardial infarction or stroke.

PMID: 23877591

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