Subarachnoid hemorrhage in the emergency department

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

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.

Full Text Links

We have located open access full text paper links.


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"