PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-9 (9)
 

Clipboard (0)
None

Select a Filter Below

Journals
Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  Acute Isolated Dysarthria Is Associated with a High Risk of Stroke 
Cerebrovascular Diseases Extra  2014;4(2):182-185.
Background
Isolated dysarthria is an uncommon presentation of transient ischemic attack (TIA)/minor stroke and has a broad differential diagnosis. There is little information in the literature about how often this presentation is confirmed to be a TIA/stroke, and therefore there is debate about the risk of subsequent vascular events. Given the uncertain prognosis, it is unclear how to best manage patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with isolated dysarthria. The objective of this study was to prospectively identify and follow a cohort of patients presenting to EDs with isolated dysarthria in order to explore their natural history and risk of recurrent cerebrovascular events. Specifically, we sought to determine early outcomes of individuals with this nonspecific and atypical presentation in order to appropriately expedite their management.
Methods
Patients with isolated dysarthria having presented to 8 Canadian EDs between October 2006 and April 2009 were analyzed as part of a prospective multicenter cohort study of patients with acute neurological symptoms as assessed by emergency physicians. The study inclusion criteria were age ≥18 years, a normal level of consciousness, and a symptom onset <1 week prior to presentation without an established nonvascular etiology. The primary outcome was a subsequent stroke within 90 days of the index visit. The secondary outcomes were the rate of TIA, myocardial infarction, and death. Isolated dysarthria was defined as slurring with imprecise articulation but without evidence of language dysfunction. The overall rate of stroke in this cohort was compared with that predicted by the median ABCD2 score for this group.
Results
Between 2006 and 2009, 1,528 patients were enrolled and had a 90-day follow-up. Of these, 43 patients presented with isolated acute-onset dysarthria (2.8%). Recurrent stroke occurred in 6/43 (14.0%) within 90 days of enrollment. The predicted maximal 90-day stroke rate was 9.8% (based on a median ABCD2 score of 5 for the isolated dysarthria cohort). After adjusting for covariates, isolated dysarthria independently predicted stroke within 90 days (aOR: 3.96; 95% CI: 1.3-11.9; p = 0.014).
Conclusions
The isolated dysarthria cohort carried a recurrent stroke risk comparable to that predicted by the median ABCD2 scores. Although isolated dysarthria is a nonspecific and uncommon clinical presentation of TIA, these findings support the need to view it first and foremost as a vascular presentation until proven otherwise and to manage such patients as if they were at high risk of stroke in accordance with established high-risk TIA guidelines.
doi:10.1159/000365169
PMCID: PMC4176400  PMID: 25298772
Stroke; Transient ischemic attack; Risk stratification; Outcome; Dysarthria
2.  Clinical characteristics associated with adverse events in patients with exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a prospective cohort study 
Background:
To assist physicians with difficult decisions about hospital admission for patients with acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) presenting in the emergency department, we sought to identify clinical characteristics associated with serious adverse events.
Methods:
We conducted this prospective cohort study in 6 large Canadian academic emergency departments. Patients were assessed for standardized clinical variables and then followed for serious adverse events, defined as death, intubation, admission to a monitored unit or new visit to the emergency department requiring admission.
Results:
We enrolled 945 patients, of whom 354 (37.5%) were admitted to hospital. Of 74 (7.8%) patients with a subsequent serious adverse event, 36 (49%) had not been admitted after the initial emergency visit. Multivariable modelling identified 5 variables that were independently associated with adverse events: prior intubation, initial heart rate ≥ 110/minute, being too ill to do a walk test, hemoglobin < 100 g/L and urea ≥ 12 mmol/L. A preliminary risk scale incorporating these and 5 other clinical variables produced risk categories ranging from 2.2% for a score of 0 to 91.4% for a score of 10. Using a risk score of 2 or higher as a threshold for admission would capture all patients with a predicted risk of adverse events of 7.2% or higher, while only slightly increasing admission rates, from 37.5% to 43.2%.
Interpretation:
In Canada, many patients with COPD suffer a serious adverse event or death after being discharged home from the emergency department. We identified high-risk characteristics and developed a preliminary risk scale that, once validated, could be used to stratify the likelihood of poor outcomes and to enable rational and safe admission decisions.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.130968
PMCID: PMC3971051  PMID: 24549125
3.  Prospective validation of the ABCD2 score for patients in the emergency department with transient ischemic attack 
Background:
The ABCD2 score (Age, Blood pressure, Clinical features, Duration of symptoms and Diabetes) is used to identify patients having a transient ischemic attack who are at high risk for imminent stroke. However, despite its widespread implementation, the ABCD2 score has not yet been prospectively validated. We assessed the accuracy of the ABCD2 score for predicting stroke at 7 (primary outcome) and 90 days.
Methods:
This prospective cohort study enrolled adults from eight Canadian emergency departments who had received a diagnosis of transient ischemic attack. Physicians completed data forms with the ABCD2 score before disposition. The outcome criterion, stroke, was established by a treating neurologist or by an Adjudication Committee. We calculated the sensitivity and specificity for predicting stroke 7 and 90 days after visiting the emergency department using the original “high-risk” cutpoint of an ABCD2 score of more than 5, and the American Heart Association recommendation of a score of more than 2.
Results:
We enrolled 2056 patients (mean age 68.0 yr, 1046 (50.9%) women) who had a rate of stroke of 1.8% at 7 days and 3.2% at 90 days. An ABCD2 score of more than 5 had a sensitivity of 31.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] 19.1–47.5) for stroke at 7 days and 29.2% (95% CI 19.6–41.2) for stroke at 90 days. An ABCD2 score of more than 2 resulted in sensitivity of 94.7% (95% CI 82.7–98.5) for stroke at 7 days with a specificity of 12.5% (95% CI 11.2–14.1). The accuracy of the ABCD2 score as calculated by either the enrolling physician (area under the curve 0.56; 95% CI 0.47–0.65) or the coordinating centre (area under the curve 0.65; 95% CI 0.57–0.73) was poor.
Interpretation:
This multicentre prospective study involving patients in emergency departments with transient ischemic attack found the ABCD2 score to be inaccurate, at any cut-point, as a predictor of imminent stroke. Furthermore, the ABCD2 score of more than 2 that is recommended by the American Heart Association is nonspecific.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.101668
PMCID: PMC3134721  PMID: 21646462
4.  Sensitivity of computed tomography performed within six hours of onset of headache for diagnosis of subarachnoid haemorrhage: prospective cohort study 
Objective To measure the sensitivity of modern third generation computed tomography in emergency patients being evaluated for possible subarachnoid haemorrhage, especially when carried out within six hours of headache onset.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Setting 11 tertiary care emergency departments across Canada, 2000-9.
Participants Neurologically intact adults with a new acute headache peaking in intensity within one hour of onset in whom a computed tomography was ordered by the treating physician to rule out subarachnoid haemorrhage.
Main outcome measures Subarachnoid haemorrhage was defined by any of subarachnoid blood on computed tomography, xanthochromia in cerebrospinal fluid, or any red blood cells in final tube of cerebrospinal fluid collected with positive results on cerebral angiography.
Results Of the 3132 patients enrolled (mean age 45.1, 2571 (82.1%) with worst headache ever), 240 had subarachnoid haemorrhage (7.7%). The sensitivity of computed tomography overall for subarachnoid haemorrhage was 92.9% (95% confidence interval 89.0% to 95.5%), the specificity was 100% (99.9% to 100%), the negative predictive value was 99.4% (99.1% to 99.6%), and the positive predictive value was 100% (98.3% to 100%). For the 953 patients scanned within six hours of headache onset, all 121 patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage were identified by computed tomography, yielding a sensitivity of 100% (97.0% to 100.0%), specificity of 100% (99.5% to 100%), negative predictive value of 100% (99.5% to 100%), and positive predictive value of 100% (96.9% to 100%).
Conclusion Modern third generation computed tomography is extremely sensitive in identifying subarachnoid haemorrhage when it is carried out within six hours of headache onset and interpreted by a qualified radiologist.
doi:10.1136/bmj.d4277
PMCID: PMC3138338  PMID: 21768192
5.  High risk clinical characteristics for subarachnoid haemorrhage in patients with acute headache: prospective cohort study 
Objective To identify high risk clinical characteristics for subarachnoid haemorrhage in neurologically intact patients with headache.
Design Multicentre prospective cohort study over five years.
Setting Six university affiliated tertiary care teaching hospitals in Canada. Data collected from November 2000 until November 2005.
Participants Neurologically intact adults with a non-traumatic headache peaking within an hour.
Main outcome measures Subarachnoid haemorrhage, as defined by any of subarachnoid haemorrhage on computed tomography of the head, xanthochromia in the cerebrospinal fluid, or red blood cells in the final sample of cerebrospinal fluid with positive results on angiography. Physicians completed data collection forms before investigations.
Results In the 1999 patients enrolled there were 130 cases of subarachnoid haemorrhage. Mean (range) age was 43.4 (16-93), 1207 (60.4%) were women, and 1546 (78.5%) reported that it was the worst headache of their life. Thirteen of the variables collected on history and three on examination were reliable and associated with subarachnoid haemorrhage. We used recursive partitioning with different combinations of these variables to create three clinical decisions rules. All had 100% (95% confidence interval 97.1% to 100.0%) sensitivity with specificities from 28.4% to 38.8%. Use of any one of these rules would have lowered rates of investigation (computed tomography, lumbar puncture, or both) from the current 82.9% to between 63.7% and 73.5%.
Conclusion Clinical characteristics can be predictive for subarachnoid haemorrhage. Practical and sensitive clinical decision rules can be used in patients with a headache peaking within an hour. Further study of these proposed decision rules, including prospective validation, could allow clinicians to be more selective and accurate when investigating patients with headache.
doi:10.1136/bmj.c5204
PMCID: PMC2966872  PMID: 21030443
6.  A prospective cluster-randomized trial to implement the Canadian CT Head Rule in emergency departments 
Background
The Canadian CT Head Rule was developed to allow physicians to be more selective when ordering computed tomography (CT) imaging for patients with minor head injury. We sought to evaluate the effectiveness of implementing this validated decision rule at multiple emergency departments.
Methods
We conducted a matched-pair cluster-randomized trial that compared the outcomes of 4531 patients with minor head injury during two 12-month periods (before and after) at hospital emergency departments in Canada, six of which were randomly allocated as intervention sites and six as control sites. At the intervention sites, active strategies, including education, changes to policy and real-time reminders on radiologic requisitions were used to implement the Canadian CT Head Rule. The main outcome measure was referral for CT scan of the head.
Results
Baseline characteristics of patients were similar when comparing control to intervention sites. At the intervention sites, the proportion of patients referred for CT imaging increased from the “before” period (62.8%) to the “after” period (76.2%) (difference +13.3%, 95% CI 9.7%–17.0%). At the control sites, the proportion of CT imaging usage also increased, from 67.5% to 74.1% (difference +6.7%, 95% CI 2.6%–10.8%). The change in mean imaging rates from the “before” period to the “after” period for intervention versus control hospitals was not significant (p = 0.16). There were no missed brain injuries or adverse outcomes.
Interpretation
Our knowledge–translation-based trial of the Canadian CT Head Rule did not reduce rates of CT imaging in Canadian emergency departments. Future studies should identify strategies to deal with barriers to implementation of this decision rule and explore more effective approaches to knowledge translation. (ClinicalTrials.gov trial register no. NCT00993252)
doi:10.1503/cmaj.091974
PMCID: PMC2950184  PMID: 20732978
7.  Implementation of the Canadian C-Spine Rule: prospective 12 centre cluster randomised trial 
Objective To evaluate the effectiveness of an active strategy to implement the validated Canadian C-Spine Rule into multiple emergency departments.
Design Matched pair cluster randomised trial.
Setting University and community emergency departments in Canada.
Participants 11 824 alert and stable adults presenting with blunt trauma to the head or neck at one of 12 hospitals.
Interventions Six hospitals were randomly allocated to the intervention and six to the control. At the intervention sites, active strategies were used to implement the Canadian C-Spine Rule, including education, policy, and real time reminders on radiology requisitions. No specific intervention was introduced to alter the behaviour of doctors requesting cervical spine imaging at the control sites.
Main outcome measure Diagnostic imaging rate of the cervical spine during two 12 month before and after periods.
Results Patients were balanced between control and intervention sites. From the before to the after periods, the intervention group showed a relative reduction in cervical spine imaging of 12.8% (95% confidence interval 9% to 16%; 61.7% v 53.3%; P=0.01) and the control group a relative increase of 12.5% (7% to 18%; 52.8% v 58.9%; P=0.03). These changes were significant when both groups were compared (P<0.001). No fractures were missed and no adverse outcomes occurred.
Conclusions Implementation of the Canadian C-Spine Rule led to a significant decrease in imaging without injuries being missed or patient morbidity. Final imaging rates were much lower at intervention sites than at most US hospitals. Widespread implementation of this rule could lead to reduced healthcare costs and more efficient patient flow in busy emergency departments worldwide.
Trial registration Clinical trials NCT00290875.
doi:10.1136/bmj.b4146
PMCID: PMC2770593  PMID: 19875425
8.  Predictors of Positive Chest Radiography in Non-Traumatic Chest Pain in the Emergency Department 
Oman Medical Journal  2009;24(1):22-26.
Objectives
To determine predictors associated with positive chest x-ray finding in patients presenting with non-traumatic chest pain in the Emergency Department (ED).
Methods
Health records, including the final radiology reports of all patients who presented with non-traumatic chest pain and had a chest x-ray performed in an urban Canadian tertiary care ED over four consecutive months were reviewed. Demographic and clinical variables were also extracted. Chest x-ray findings were categorized as normal (either normal or no significant change from previous x-rays) or abnormal. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the data. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the association between various predictors and chest x-ray finding (positive/negative).
Results
The 330 study patients had the following characteristics: mean age 58±20 years; female 41% (n=134). Patients’ chief complaints were only chest pain 75% (n=248), chest pain with shortness of breath 12% (n=41), chest pain with palpitation 4% (n=14), chest pain with other complaints 9% (n=28). Chest x-rays were reported as normal or no acute changes in 81% (n=266) of patients, and abnormal in 19% (n=64) of patients. The most common abnormal chest x-ray diagnoses were congestive heart failure (n=28; 8%) and pneumonia (n=17; 5%). Those with abnormal chest x-ray findings were significantly older (71 versus 55 years; p<0.001), had chest pain with shortness of breath (36% versus 11%; p<0.001), had significant past medical history (39% versus 14%; p<0.001), and were also tachypnoic (31% versus 12%; p<0.001).
Conclusion
This study found that patients with non-traumatic chest pain are likely to have a normal chest x-ray if they were young, not tachypnoeic or short of breath, and had no significant past medical history. A larger study is required to confirm these findings.
doi:10.5001/omj.2009.6
PMCID: PMC3269614  PMID: 22303504
9.  How do emergency physicians make discharge decisions? 
Background
One of the most important decisions that emergency department (ED) physicians make is patient disposition (admission vs discharge).
Objectives
To determine how ED physicians perceive their discharge decisions for high-acuity patients and the impact on adverse events (adverse outcomes associated with healthcare management).
Methods
We conducted a real-time survey of staff ED physicians discharging consecutive patients from high-acuity areas of a tertiary care ED. We asked open-ended questions about rationale for discharge decisions and use of clinical judgement versus evidence. We searched for 30-day flagged outcomes (deaths, unscheduled admissions, ED or clinic visits). Three trained blinded ED physicians independently reviewed these for adverse events and preventability. We resolved disagreements by consensus. We used descriptive statistics and 95% CIs.
Results
We interviewed 88.9% (32/36) of possible ED physicians for 366 discharge decisions. Respondents were mostly male (71.9%) and experienced (53.1% >10 years). ED physicians stated they used clinical judgement in 87.6% of decisions and evidence in 12.4%. There were 69 flagged outcomes (18.8%) and 10 adverse events (2.7%, 95% CI 1.1 to 4.5%). All adverse events were preventable (1 death, 4 admissions, 5 return ED visits). No significant associations occurred between decision-making rationale and adverse events.
Conclusions
Experienced ED physicians most often relied on clinical acumen rather than evidence-based guidelines when discharging patients from ED high-acuity areas. Neither approach was associated with adverse events. In order to improve the safety of discharge decisions, further research should focus on decision support solutions and feedback interventions.
doi:10.1136/emermed-2013-202421
PMCID: PMC4283689  PMID: 24045050
clinical care; education; emergency care systems

Results 1-9 (9)