By Associated Press Writer
updated 4/13/2010 4:52:00 PM ET 2010-04-13T20:52:00

New research shows as many as one in four heart doctors say they order medical tests that might not be needed out of fear of getting sued.

The researchers surveyed about 600 cardiologists from around the country to see whether doctors' attitudes and practices might be playing a role in medical treatment. About 24 percent of the doctors surveyed said they've ordered an invasive heart test because of worries about getting sued.

Researchers also found that doctors in areas where more money was spent on health care tend to treat their patients more aggressively. The study was released Tuesday by the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

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