Non-stroke admissions to a hyperacute stroke unit

Department of Neurology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.
Scottish medical journal (Impact Factor: 0.54). 11/2012; 57(4):209-211. DOI: 10.1258/smj.2012.012119

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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