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Inaccurate Terminology

David H. Spodick, MD, DSc
Arch Intern Med. 1983;143(4):845. doi:10.1001/archinte.1983.00350040235051.
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To the Editor.  —I greatly enjoyed the article in the September Archives by Falk and Hood, entitled "The Heart in Sickle Cell Anemia" (1982;142:1680-1684). I wish to comment only on a small but conceptually important point. The authors refer to radionuclide study as one of the "modern noninvasive methods." I never cease to marvel at how physicians of the greatest intellect continue to label things what they are not. The authors are certainly in good company in this respect since, at our scientific meetings nowadays, "noninvasive" is virtually synonymous with radionuclide! Radionuclide studies are definitely invasive. A vessel is punctured, a substance is injected, and the patient is then irradiated from inside out. Both the puncture and the irradiation are distinctly invasive processes (by the same token, even inhaled radioactive gases may be considered invasive).Terminological controversies would be mere quibbles if inaccurate terminology could not cloud or obscure concepts.


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