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Timely Brain Scans for Stroke Patients Lacking

Variation in times from admission to scan implies stroke care systems have room for improvement

FRIDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- There are significant disparities between suspected stroke patients in terms of the time between hospital admission and undergoing a computed tomography (CT) scan, according to a report published online Aug. 7 in Stroke.

Kathryn M. Rose, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., and colleagues conducted a study of 20,374 stroke patients enrolled in the North Carolina Collaborative Stroke Registry from January 2005 through April 2008 to assess what factors were associated with a delay in undergoing a CT scan.

Overall, race, gender, mode of transportation, time to admission and presumptive diagnosis all affected the odds of meeting the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke guidelines for treatment of stroke, the researchers report. Delays in admission to hospital, arrival at hospital by other modes of transport rather than emergency medical services ambulance, and a diagnosis of unspecified stroke type all negatively affected time to CT scan.

"Among the minority of patients arriving to the hospital within two hours of symptom onset, mode of arrival, gender, race, hospital characteristics, and presumptive admission diagnosis were associated with the rapidity with which a CT scan was performed," the authors write. "This suggests areas for improvement in hospital-level stroke systems of care that may increase patient access to time-dependent therapies that can potentially reduce stroke-related morbidity and mortality."

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