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Five percent of transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients have a subsequent stroke within 7 days. The Canadian TIA Score uses clinical findings to calculate the subsequent stroke risk within 7 days. Our objectives were to assess 1) anticipated use; 2) component face validity; 3) risk strata for stroke within 7 days; and 4) actions required, for a given risk for subsequent stroke.
After a rigorous development process, a survey questionnaire was administered to a random sample of 300 emergency physicians selected from those registered in a national medical directory. The surveys were distributed using a modified Dillman technique.
From a total of 271 eligible surveys, we received 131 (48.3%) completed surveys; 96.2% of emergency physicians would use a validated Canadian TIA Score; 8 of 13 components comprising the Canadian TIA Score were rated as Very Important or Important by survey respondents. Risk categories for subsequent stroke were defined as minimal-risk: <1%; low-risk: 1%–4.9%; high-risk 5%–10%; critical-risk: > 10% risk of subsequent stroke within 7 days.
A validated Canadian TIA Score will likely be used by emergency physicians. Most components of the TIA Score have high face validity. Risk strata are definable, which may allow physicians to determine immediate actions, based on subsequent stroke risk, in the emergency department.
There are a number of screening tools to predict return to the emergency department (ED) in elderly trauma patients, but none exist to specifically screen for functional decline after a minor injury. The objective of this study was to identify outcome measures for a possible future clinical decision rule to be used in the ED to identify previously independent patients at high risk of functional decline at six months post minor injury.
After a rigorous development process, a survey instrument was administered to a random sample of 178 emergency physicians using the Dillman’s Tailored Design Method.
Of 156 eligible surveys, we received 81 completed surveys (response rate 51.9%). Considering all 14 activities of daily living (ADL) items, 90% of physicians deemed a minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in function to be at least three points on the 28-point Older Americans Resources and Services (OARS) ADL Scale as clinically significant. A tool with a sensitivity of 93% to detect patients at risk of functional decline at six months post injury would meet or exceed the sensitivity deemed to be required by 90% of physicians. The majority of emergency physicians do not assess elderly injured patients for the majority of the tasks.
A drop of three points on the 28-point OARS ADL Scale would be deemed clinically important by the vast majority of emergency physicians. Further, a sensitivity of 93% for a clinical decision tool would satisfy the MCID requirements of the vast majority of emergency physicians. There appears to be a gap between physician knowledge and actual practice. We intend to use these findings in the development of a clinical decision rule to identify high-risk elderly trauma patients.
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