Have you nearly fainted when you looked at your medical bills? In the elderly population, syncope (fainting, temporary loss of consciousness) can be benign or life-threatening. Investigators reviewed the medical records of 1920 patients over 65 years old who were admitted to a single hospital with syncope between 2002 and 2006. They examined how often various diagnostic tests were performed, calculated the costs of those tests, and evaluated how often the results helped the diagnosis and treatment. The tests administered ranged from $17 to $32,000. You guessed it! Postural blood pressure measurement was the least expensive and yielded the greatest diagnostic benefit.
PositiveTip: Before you jump for the expensive tests, ask you doctor if there are less expensive ways of effectively diagnosing your condition. You may not faint at the bill!