Health experts have questioned the effectiveness of testing done by pop-up clinics that screen for heart attack and stroke risk.
The National Heart Foundation says its Perth office has been getting three or four calls a day from people confused about letters from the private company Screen For Life, which offers four scans for $225 that it claims can reveal the risk of heart disease, aneurysms and stroke. It screens those aged 50 and over and says the non-invasive tests by nurses and sonographers can detect dangerous plaque and abnormal heart rhythm.
The company has been operating mobile clinics in other States for more than a year, but the Heart Foundation and Stroke Foundation say that though the tests are not harmful, they are not recognised as effective in preventing heart disease or stroke in people without symptoms.
The health groups say Heart Foundation statistics on heart disease included in the letters should not be seen as an endorsement.
Heart Foundation WA chief executive Maurice Swanson said offers came up every few years from companies offering heart screening but anyone concerned about their risk was advised to see their GP.
The foundation's national cardiovascular health director Robert Grenfell said his group did not support medical tests that might be unnecessary. "These tests are best performed in people with symptoms, not as a screening test," Dr Grenfell said.
The WA Health Department said it was aware of the letters but the screening was not endorsed by any Australian government.
"The cost of screening is not publicly funded through Medicare," it said. "Anyone who undergoes the screening will be responsible for the full cost of the visit."
Screen for Life's chief medical officer Andy Manganaro said the screenings were for people who might not be showing symptoms.
"Our screenings check for signs of previously unidentified disease and refer people back to their primary care doctors for diagnosis, monitoring and possible treatment," he said.
"Our service is not intended to replace crucial doctor-patient relationships. Screen for Life makes no claim on taxpayer funds."