ABSTRACT: Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the ability of emergency physicians (EPs) to diagnose early ischemic changes due acute ischemic stroke on cranial computed tomography (CT). Subjects and Methods: Three EPs interpreted CT scans obtained within 3 h of symptom onset in 50 patients with acute stroke. The CT scans were interpreted by the EPs and compared to official neuroradiologist reports as a gold standard. ĸ statistics were calculated to determine agreement among the three readers. Sensitivities and specificities were analyzed for each reader. Results: The EPs' sensitivities were 50, 45.5, and 45.5%, and specificities were 64.3, 82.1, and 64.3%, respectively. Focal parenchymal hypodensity was the criterion for which the EPs were the most sensitive (77.3%). The ability of EPs to recognize early ischemic changes on CT scans in acute ischemic stroke was moderate based on sensitivities. Conclusion: Based on this study, EPs must be trained especially for recognizing early ischemic changes in acute ischemic stroke to improve their accuracy of interpretation.
Medical Principles and Practice 05/2012; 21(6):534-7. · 0.89 Impact Factor