A prospective pilot study of predictors of acute stroke in emergency department patients with dizziness

Maureen Chase, Joshua N Goldstein, Magdy H Selim, Daniel J Pallin, Marc A Camacho, Jennifer L O'Connor, Long Ngo, Jonathan A Edlow
Mayo Clinic Proceedings 2014, 89 (2): 173-80

OBJECTIVE: To prospectively examine undifferentiated emergency department (ED) patients with dizziness to identify clinical features associated with acute stroke.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We conducted a pilot study from November 1, 2009, through October 30, 2010, of adult patients with dizziness presenting to 3 urban academic EDs. Data collected included demographic characteristics, medical history, presenting symptoms, examination findings, clinician pretest probability of stroke, and neuroimaging results. Logistic regression was used to identify variables with a significant association with acute stroke (P<.05).

RESULTS: During the study period, we enrolled 473 patients (mean ± SD age, 56.7±19.3 years; 60% female; and 71% white). We found 30 acute, serious diagnoses (6.3%), including 14 ischemic strokes, 2 subarachnoid hemorrhages, 7 mass lesions, 2 demyelinating lesions, 2 severe vertebral artery stenoses, 2 acute coronary syndromes, and 1 case of hydrocephalus and meningitis). We identified 6 clinical variables associated with stroke: age (odds ratio [OR], 1.04; 95% CI, 1.0-1.07), hyperlipidemia (OR, 3.62; 95% CI, 1.24-10.6), hypertension (OR, 4.91; 95% CI, 1.46-16.5), coronary artery disease (OR, 3.33; 95% CI, 1.06-10.5), abnormal tandem gait test result (OR, 3.13; 95% CI, 1.10-8.89), and high or moderate physician pretest probability for acute stroke (OR, 18.8; 95% CI, 4.72-74.5).

CONCLUSIONS: Most ED patients with dizziness do not have a serious cause of their symptoms. Although the small number of outcomes precluded development of a multivariate model, we identified several individual high-risk variables associated with acute ischemic stroke. Further study will be needed to validate the findings of this pilot investigation.

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