To the Editor:—
An increasing trend in medicine transfers the diagnostic task largely to paramedical personnel and to automatically working machines. In computer diagnosis of electrocardiograms, the computer diagnoses "patterns" and is not concerned with individual conditions which may bring about normal variations of the ECG. If the computer diagnosis is handed to an apprehensive patient, as does happen, without review by a physician, the result may be disastrous.At the annual convention of the American College of Cardiology in New York, the physicians were offered, as a public service, a six-lead ECG with computer diagnosis which was handed to the patient. A physician visiting from Argentina availed himself of this service. The computer diagnosis read: "Prolonged P-R interval. First degree A-V block. S1, 2, 3 syndrome. May be normal, but consider emphysema, RVH, myocardial infarction." In this case, the computer diagnosis did not save time and effort of physicians.