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Natl Med J India. 2016 Jan-Feb;29(1):18-21.

Routine health check-ups: A boon or a burden?

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Grant Medical College and Sir J.J. Group of Hospitals, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
Cardiologist, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India.
K.J. Somaiya Medical College and Research Centre, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
D.Y. Patil Medical College, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Sector 12, Chandigarh 160012, India.
Quintiles Cardiac Safety Services, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
Arrhythmia Associates, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.


Healthcare provider institutions in India now offer structured health check-up 'packages' for routine screening of common diseases. While some tests included within their ambit are in keeping with international and Indian recommendations, some are entirely unwarranted. Unnecessary and inappropriate screening tests may cause more harm than benefit. Besides financial and resource burden, there may be over-diagnosis and over-treatment, psychological distress due to false-positive test results, harm from invasive follow-up tests, and false reassurance due to false-negative test results. Clinicians must ensure a net benefit from tests and interventions in order to efficiently deliver preventive services. We reviewed current screening guidelines for cardiovascular disease and common cancers, and surveyed multiple 'packages' provided at 8 centres in Mumbai, India. We put forth our recommendations for routine health screening in asymptomatic adults in India.

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