Most Stroke Victims Do Not Get Diagnostic Imaging Fast Enough

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Fewer than half of all stroke patients undergo brain imaging within the AHA-recommended, 25-minute window after arriving at the ER, according to a new study in the journal Stroke.

CT or MR scans are critical in determining whether a stroke is caused by a blockage or a ruptured blood vessel, which dictates the course of treatment.

The study is based on data collected from the AHA “Get with the Guidelines” program, which spanned some 1200 hospitals and 40,000 patients at the time it was collected. It found that only 41.7 percent of the patients with symptoms of stroke received brain imaging within 25 minutes of arrival at the hospital.

Looking at demographics for the patients, the study also found that patient that were less likely to receive prompt diagnostic imaging for symptoms of stroke included diabetics, the elderly, women, non-whites, and patients who did not arrive via emergency medical transport.

Quipped neurologist Adam Kelly of the University of Rochester Medical Center, lead author of the study: “This was the performance of hospitals who are actively participating in a national quality improvement program, so rates in non-participating hospitals may be even worse.”