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The Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations suggests that patients suspected of transient ischemic attack (TIA)/minor stroke receive urgent brain imaging, preferably computed tomography angiography (CTA). Yet, high requisition rates for non-cerebrovascular patients overburden limited radiological resources, putting patients at risk. We hypothesize that our clinical decision support tool (CDST) developed for risk stratification of TIA in the emergency department (ED), and which incorporates Canadian guidelines, could improve CTA utilization.
Retrospective study design with clinical information gathered from ED patient referrals to an outpatient TIA unit in Victoria, BC, from 2015-2016. Actual CTA orders by ED and TIA unit staff were compared to hypothetical CTA ordering if our CDST had been used in the ED upon patient arrival.
For 1,679 referrals, clinicians ordered 954 CTAs. Our CDST would have ordered a total of 977 CTAs for these patients. Overall, this would have increased the number of imaged-TIA patients by 89 (10.1%) while imaging 98 (16.1%) fewer non-cerebrovascular patients over the 2-year period. Our CDST would have ordered CTA for 18 (78.3%) of the recurrent stroke patients in the sample.
Our CDST could enhance CTA utilization in the ED for suspected TIA patients, and facilitate guideline-based stroke care. Use of our CDST would increase the number of TIA patients receiving CTA before ED discharge (rather than later at TIA units) and reduce the burden of imaging stroke mimics in radiological departments.
Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) has become an important diagnostic tool for hospital-based clinicians. This study assesses the role of POCUS at Pemberton Music Festival 2016 (Pemberton, British Columbia [BC], Canada), a remote mass gathering where physicians face limited resources, complex disposition decisions, and a dynamic clinical environment.
This study prospectively evaluated the impact of POCUS on patient diagnosis, management, and disposition based on the self-report of the study physicians. The authors hypothesized that having ultrasound available for use would aid in diagnostic and management decisions and would reduce the need to transfer patients off-site to other health care facilities, reducing impact on the acute health services in the host community.
A handheld ultrasound was available for use by physicians in the main medical tent. All participating physicians self-reported their training and comfort using POCUS. After each POCUS scan, physicians completed a survey and recorded the indication for use, scans performed, and impact on patient diagnosis, management, and disposition.
In total, POCUS was used on 28 of the 686 patients treated in the main medical tent; POCUS was reported to narrow the differential diagnosis in 64% of cases and altered the working diagnosis in 21% of cases. Its use changed the management plan in 39% of patients. Its use was reported to reduce the burden on broader health care resource utilization in 46% of cases and prevented ambulance transport off-site in 32% of cases (nine cases in total). This corresponded to an absolute risk reduction of 1.3% for the percentage of patients transferred to hospital (PPTH; relative risk reduction of 53%).
Physicians reported that POCUS improved the diagnosis, management, and disposition of select patients at a remote, multi-day music festival. Also, POCUS reduced ambulance transfers off-site and reduced the perceived burden on broader health care utilization.
PragerR, SedgwickC, LundA, KimD, HoB, StachuraM, GutmanS. Prospective Evaluation of Point-of-Care Ultrasound at a Remote, Multi-Day Music Festival. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(5):484–489.