A prospective evaluation of indications for neurological consultation in the emergency department
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CitationHansen, Christopher K, Jonathan Fisher, Nina R Joyce, and Jonathan A Edlow. 2015. “A prospective evaluation of indications for neurological consultation in the emergency department.” International Journal of Emergency Medicine 8 (1): 26. doi:10.1186/s12245-015-0074-3. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12245-015-0074-3.
AbstractBackground: Recognizing the diverse presentation of neurological conditions that emergency physicians encounter can be challenging, and management of these patients often requires consultation with a neurologist. Accurate diagnosis is critical in neurological emergencies because patient outcomes are often dependent on timely treatment. Our primary objective was to ascertain whether consultant neurologists understood the reason for consultation in the emergency department. Methods: The authors conducted a prospective study of a non-consecutive sample of 94 patients seen in an academic tertiary care emergency department (ED) who underwent consultation by neurologist over 4 consecutive months. At the time a consult was requested, we independently surveyed the treating ED physician for their differential diagnosis. Neurologists were also queried as to whether there was a clear indication for consultation. We then followed the patients to determine their final diagnosis and outcome. Results: The median age was 57 years (interquartile range 45–78). 45.7 % were male. The clinical reasons for all the consults were 61 % focal symptom, 12 % concern about a specific diagnosis, 9 % radiological finding, 9 % diagnostic ambiguity, and 11 % other. There was no significant difference in the rate of a final neurological diagnosis based on the clinical reason for consult (p = 0.13). In the 17 % of patients for whom the treating neurologist reported a lack of a clear indication for the consultation, 25 % were later admitted to a neurological service, and 69 % ultimately had a neurological diagnosis. Conclusions: Although patients with neurological emergencies can have diverse presentations, emergency physicians appear to utilize neurologic consultation appropriately. Additionally, nearly 70 % of patients for whom the consultant did not precisely understand the need for the consultation had neurological diagnoses. Time and resource constraints in the ED create challenges in making correct diagnosis.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:17820874
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