Non-stroke admissions to a hyperacute stroke unit
ABSTRACT A significant proportion of patients presenting to hyperacute stroke units (HSUs) are diagnosed with non-stroke (NS). This study aimed to assess the rate and diagnoses of NS patients admitted to a HSU and the implications for clinical service provision. Admissions to the HSU at the Southern General Hospital, Glasgow, were retrospectively assessed (March 2007–September 2007). NS patients were identified by two parallel ascertainment methods and NS diagnosis was confirmed by case-note and discharge letter review. Of 375 presentations, 116 (31%) were due to NS. NS diagnosis was more likely for local referrals than from regional hospitals (41% versus 19%; P = 0.0002). Compared with stroke/transient ischaemic attack patients, NS patients were significantly younger, more likely to have an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan and had a shorter length of hospital stay. Common NS diagnoses were migraine (22%), functional neurological disorder (14%), syncope (12%) and seizure (6%). NS patients who had an MRI scan were more likely to have a length of stay ≥2 days (75% versus 53%; P = 0.03). NS makes up one-third of acute stroke-like presentations with a high frequency of neurological conditions. NS patients tend to be younger and require significant investigation. The increased use of MRI and neurological services has implications for providing a hyperacute stroke service.
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ABSTRACT: Patients with acute neurologic symptoms may have other causes simulating ischemic stroke, called stroke mimics (SM), but they may also have averted strokes that do not appear as infarcts on neuroimaging, which we call neuroimaging-negative cerebral ischemia (NNCI). We determined the safety and outcome of IV thrombolysis within 3 hours of symptom onset in patients with SM and NNCI. Patients treated with IV tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) within 3 hours of symptom onset were identified from our stroke registry from June 2004 to October 2008. We collected admission NIH Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score, modified Rankin score (mRS), length of stay (LOS), symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH), and discharge diagnosis. Among 512 treated patients, 21% were found not to have an infarct on follow-up imaging. In the SM group (14%), average age was 55 years, median admission NIHSS was 7, median discharge NIHSS was 0, median LOS was 3 days, and there were no instances of sICH. The most common etiologies were seizure, complicated migraine, and conversion disorder. In the NNCI group (7%), average age was 61 years, median admission NIHSS was 7, median discharge NIHSS was 0, median LOS was 3 days, and there were no instances of sICH. Nearly all SM (87%) and NNCI (91%) patients were functionally independent on discharge (mRS 0-1). Our data support the safety of administering IV tissue plasminogen activator to patients with suspected acute cerebral ischemia within 3 hours of symptom onset, even when the diagnosis ultimately is found not to be stroke or imaging does not show an infarct.Neurology 03/2010; 74(17):1340-5. · 8.30 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Recent evidence suggests the Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale is ineffectively used and lacks sensitivity and specificity. Melbourne (Australia) paramedics have been using the Melbourne Ambulance Stroke Screen (MASS) since 2005. The aim of this study was to review the real-world use of MASS 3 years after city wide implementation. Two groups of consecutively admitted patients to an Australian hospital between January and May 2008 were used: (1) patients for whom paramedics performed MASS; and (2) patients with a discharge diagnosis of stroke or transient ischemic attack. Use of MASS was examined for all transports and for patients diagnosed with stroke or transient ischemic attack. The sensitivity and specificity of paramedic diagnosis, MASS, and Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale were calculated. Paramedic diagnosis of stroke among patients with stroke was statistically compared with those obtained immediately post-MASS implementation in 2002. For the study period, MASS was performed for 850 (16%) of 5286 emergency transports, including 199 of 207 (96%) patients with confirmed stroke and transient ischemic attack. In patients in whom MASS was performed (n=850), the sensitivity of paramedic diagnosis of stroke (93%, 95% CI: 88% to 96%) was higher than the MASS (83%, 95% CI: 77% to 88%, P=0.003) and equivalent to Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale (88%, 95% CI: 83% to 92%, P=0.120), whereas the specificity of the paramedic diagnosis of stroke (87%, 95% CI: 84% to 89%) was equivalent to MASS (86%, 95% CI: 83% to 88%, P=0.687) and higher than Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale (79%, 95% CI: 75% to 82%, P<0.001). The initial improvement in stroke paramedic diagnosis seen in 2002 (94%, 95% CI: 86% to 98%) was sustained in 2008 (89%, 95% CI: 84% to 94%, P=0.19). In our experience, paramedics have successfully incorporated MASS into the assessment of neurologically compromised patients. The initial improvement to the paramedics' diagnosis of stroke with MASS was sustained 3 years after city wide implementation.Stroke 07/2010; 41(7):1363-6. · 6.02 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Current treatment protocols using reperfusion therapy for acute ischemic stroke rely on non-contrast computed tomography (NCCT), with most indications including the absence of acute hemorrhage or large volume of infarction in the presence of clinical signs and symptoms. This predictably results in a significant incidence of the administration of reperfusion therapy to patients with "stroke mimics," such as migraine headache or Todd's paralysis after a seizure. Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) is a technique based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that may be more sensitive and specific for acute cerebral ischemia than NCCT. In addition, data for techniques such as perfusion-weighted imaging can be acquired with minimal additional time required. This may allow better risk assessment of a clinical response to reperfusion therapy vs. the possibility of hemorrhagic complications. This article describes a methodical review of studies comparing the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of DWI vs. NCCT in the evaluation of acute ischemic stroke. Data from studies meeting our screening criteria are combined to produce overall values for each.Journal of Emergency Medicine 11/2006; 31(3):269-77. · 1.18 Impact Factor