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      Rising annual costs of dizziness presentations to U.S. emergency departments.

      Academic Emergency Medicine

      Adult, Aged, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Databases, Factual, Diagnostic Imaging, economics, methods, Dizziness, diagnosis, epidemiology, Emergency Service, Hospital, utilization, Female, Health Care Costs, Health Care Surveys, Hospital Costs, Humans, Incidence, Male, Middle Aged, Needs Assessment, Risk Assessment, United States, Vertigo

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          Abstract

          Dizziness and vertigo account for roughly 4% of chief symptoms in the emergency department (ED). Little is known about the aggregate costs of ED evaluations for these patients. The authors sought to estimate the annual national costs associated with ED visits for dizziness. This cost study of adult U.S. ED visits presenting with dizziness or vertigo combined public-use ED visit data (1995 to 2009) from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) and cost data (2003 to 2008) from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). We calculated total visits, test utilization, and ED diagnoses from NHAMCS. Diagnosis groups were defined using the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's Clinical Classifications Software (HCUP-CCS). Total visits and the proportion undergoing neuroimaging for future years were extrapolated using an autoregressive forecasting model. The average ED visit cost-per-diagnosis-group from MEPS were calculated, adjusting to 2011 dollars using the Hospital Personal Health Care Expenditures price index. An overall weighted mean across the diagnostic groups was used to estimate total national costs. Year 2011 data are reported in 2011 dollars. The estimated number of 2011 US ED visits for dizziness or vertigo was 3.9 million (95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.6 to 4.2 million). The proportion undergoing diagnostic imaging by computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or both in 2011 was estimated to be 39.9% (39.4% CT, 2.3% MRI). The mean per-ED-dizziness-visit cost was $1,004 in 2011 dollars. The total extrapolated 2011 national costs were $3.9 billion. HCUP-CCS key diagnostic groups for those presenting with dizziness and vertigo included the following (fraction of dizziness visits, cost-per-ED-visit, attributable annual national costs): otologic/vestibular (25.7%; $768; $757 million), cardiovascular (16.5%, $1,489; $941 million), and cerebrovascular (3.1%; $1059; $127 million). Neuroimaging was estimated to account for about 12% of the total costs for dizziness visits in 2011 (CT scans $360 million, MRI scans $110 million). Total U.S. national costs for patients presenting with dizziness to the ED are substantial and are estimated to now exceed $4 billion per year (about 4% of total ED costs). Rising costs over time appear to reflect the rising prevalence of ED visits for dizziness and increased rates of imaging use. Future economic studies should focus on the specific breakdown of total costs, emphasizing areas of high cost and use that might be safely reduced. © 2013 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Radiation dose associated with common computed tomography examinations and the associated lifetime attributable risk of cancer.

          Use of computed tomography (CT) for diagnostic evaluation has increased dramatically over the past 2 decades. Even though CT is associated with substantially higher radiation exposure than conventional radiography, typical doses are not known. We sought to estimate the radiation dose associated with common CT studies in clinical practice and quantify the potential cancer risk associated with these examinations. We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study describing radiation dose associated with the 11 most common types of diagnostic CT studies performed on 1119 consecutive adult patients at 4 San Francisco Bay Area institutions in California between January 1 and May 30, 2008. We estimated lifetime attributable risks of cancer by study type from these measured doses. Radiation doses varied significantly between the different types of CT studies. The overall median effective doses ranged from 2 millisieverts (mSv) for a routine head CT scan to 31 mSv for a multiphase abdomen and pelvis CT scan. Within each type of CT study, effective dose varied significantly within and across institutions, with a mean 13-fold variation between the highest and lowest dose for each study type. The estimated number of CT scans that will lead to the development of a cancer varied widely depending on the specific type of CT examination and the patient's age and sex. An estimated 1 in 270 women who underwent CT coronary angiography at age 40 years will develop cancer from that CT scan (1 in 600 men), compared with an estimated 1 in 8100 women who had a routine head CT scan at the same age (1 in 11 080 men). For 20-year-old patients, the risks were approximately doubled, and for 60-year-old patients, they were approximately 50% lower. Radiation doses from commonly performed diagnostic CT examinations are higher and more variable than generally quoted, highlighting the need for greater standardization across institutions.
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            Magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography in emergency assessment of patients with suspected acute stroke: a prospective comparison.

            Although the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the diagnosis of acute stroke is increasing, this method has not proved more effective than computed tomography (CT) in the emergency setting. We aimed to prospectively compare CT and MRI for emergency diagnosis of acute stroke. We did a single-centre, prospective, blind comparison of non-contrast CT and MRI (with diffusion-weighted and susceptibility weighted images) in a consecutive series of patients referred for emergency assessment of suspected acute stroke. Scans were independently interpreted by four experts, who were unaware of clinical information, MRI-CT pairings, and follow-up imaging. 356 patients, 217 of whom had a final clinical diagnosis of acute stroke, were assessed. MRI detected acute stroke (ischaemic or haemorrhagic), acute ischaemic stroke, and chronic haemorrhage more frequently than did CT (p<0.0001, for all comparisons). MRI was similar to CT for the detection of acute intracranial haemorrhage. MRI detected acute ischaemic stroke in 164 of 356 patients (46%; 95% CI 41-51%), compared with CT in 35 of 356 patients (10%; 7-14%). In the subset of patients scanned within 3 h of symptom onset, MRI detected acute ischaemic stroke in 41 of 90 patients (46%; 35-56%); CT in 6 of 90 (7%; 3-14%). Relative to the final clinical diagnosis, MRI had a sensitivity of 83% (181 of 217; 78-88%) and CT of 26% (56 of 217; 20-32%) for the diagnosis of any acute stroke. MRI is better than CT for detection of acute ischaemia, and can detect acute and chronic haemorrhage; therefore it should be the preferred test for accurate diagnosis of patients with suspected acute stroke. Because our patient sample encompassed the range of disease that is likely to be encountered in emergency cases of suspected stroke, our results are directly applicable to clinical practice.
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              HINTS to diagnose stroke in the acute vestibular syndrome: three-step bedside oculomotor examination more sensitive than early MRI diffusion-weighted imaging.

              Acute vestibular syndrome (AVS) is often due to vestibular neuritis but can result from vertebrobasilar strokes. Misdiagnosis of posterior fossa infarcts in emergency care settings is frequent. Bedside oculomotor findings may reliably identify stroke in AVS, but prospective studies have been lacking. The authors conducted a prospective, cross-sectional study at an academic hospital. Consecutive patients with AVS (vertigo, nystagmus, nausea/vomiting, head-motion intolerance, unsteady gait) with >or=1 stroke risk factor underwent structured examination, including horizontal head impulse test of vestibulo-ocular reflex function, observation of nystagmus in different gaze positions, and prism cross-cover test of ocular alignment. All underwent neuroimaging and admission (generally <72 hours after symptom onset). Strokes were diagnosed by MRI or CT. Peripheral lesions were diagnosed by normal MRI and clinical follow-up. One hundred one high-risk patients with AVS included 25 peripheral and 76 central lesions (69 ischemic strokes, 4 hemorrhages, 3 other). The presence of normal horizontal head impulse test, direction-changing nystagmus in eccentric gaze, or skew deviation (vertical ocular misalignment) was 100% sensitive and 96% specific for stroke. Skew was present in 17% and associated with brainstem lesions (4% peripheral, 4% pure cerebellar, 30% brainstem involvement; chi(2), P=0.003). Skew correctly predicted lateral pontine stroke in 2 of 3 cases in which an abnormal horizontal head impulse test erroneously suggested peripheral localization. Initial MRI diffusion-weighted imaging was falsely negative in 12% (all <48 hours after symptom onset). Skew predicts brainstem involvement in AVS and can identify stroke when an abnormal horizontal head impulse test falsely suggests a peripheral lesion. A 3-step bedside oculomotor examination (HINTS: Head-Impulse-Nystagmus-Test-of-Skew) appears more sensitive for stroke than early MRI in AVS.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                23859582
                10.1111/acem.12168

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