JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Subarachnoid hemorrhage in the emergency department

Sima Patel, Amay Parikh, Okorie Nduka Okorie
International Journal of Emergency Medicine 2021 May 12, 14 (1): 31
33980142

BACKGROUND: Subarachnoid hemorrhage accounts for more than 30,000 cases of stroke annually in North America and encompasses a 4.4% mortality rate. Since a vast number of subarachnoid hemorrhage cases present in a younger population and can range from benign to severe, an accurate diagnosis is imperative to avoid premature morbidity and mortality. Here, we present a straightforward approach to evaluating, risk stratifying, and managing subarachnoid hemorrhages in the emergency department for the emergency medicine physician.

DISCUSSION: The diversities of symptom presentation should be considered before proceeding with diagnostic modalities for subarachnoid hemorrhage. Once a subarachnoid hemorrhage is suspected, a computed tomography of the head with the assistance of the Ottawa subarachnoid hemorrhage rule should be utilized as an initial diagnostic measure. If further investigation is needed, a CT angiography of the head or a lumbar puncture can be considered keeping risks and limitations in mind. Initiating timely treatment is essential following diagnosis to help mitigate future complications. Risk tools can be used to assess the complications for which the patient is at greatest.

CONCLUSION: Subarachnoid hemorrhages are frequently misdiagnosed; therefore, we believe it is imperative to address the diagnosis and initiation of early management in the emergency medicine department to minimize poor outcomes in the future.

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