Tag Archive for: Neurology

The Ottawa SAH Clinical Decision Rule

24 Oct
October 24, 2018

Background: Headache is a common presentation to the emergency department  (ED) accounting for 2% of all visits [1].  Of the patients that present with headache,1 – 3% will be due to a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) [1]. SAH is a true diagnostic dilemma as delays in diagnosis can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. Further complicating matters, almost half of patients will be alert and neurologically intact at first presentation [3].  Non-Contrast Head CT (NCHCT) is very sensitive when performed soon after headache. However, we don’t want to order unnecessary NCHCTs as that increase cost and radiation exposure. Invasive testing such as lumbar puncture, which in itself can be a painful procedure, can also cause headache.  The Ottawa SAH Clinical Decision Rule was designed to help facilitate the identification of SAH in alert, neurologically intact adults presenting to the ED with acute, non-traumatic headache, while minimizing expensive and invasive over testing.  This post will serve as a review of the current literature in the derivation and validation of the Ottawa SAH Clinical Decision Rule. Read more →

PRISMS Trial: Alteplase vs. Aspirin in Minor Stroke

06 Sep
September 6, 2018

Background: Despite serious concerns about the role of alteplase in the management of acute ischemic stroke including, but not limited to, significant conflicts of interest, unbalanced baseline patient characteristics, systematic devaluation of contrary data, lack of reproduced benefit and low fragility index, it remains standard care for patients presenting with symptoms of acute ischemic stroke within 3 (or 4.5 depending on system) hours of onset of symptoms. Though the NINDS studies only showed benefit in a specific subgroup of patients, subsequent work has endeavored to expand the target group in a classic example of indication creep. Patients with minor CVA (NIHSS < 5 without disabling features or, essentially mRS 0-1) represent one such subgroup in which alteplase is often not employed due mainly in part to the perception of minimal benefit with continued potential for harm (i.e. anaphylaxis, intracranial hemorrhage). Alteplase supporters argue that minor stroke patients should still get the drug as it not only may reduce symptoms but can also prevent deterioration. The evidence for this viewpoint is both extremely limited and of poor methodologic quality. Read more →

TICH-2: TXA for Spontaneous ICH?

30 Jul
July 30, 2018

Background: Spontaneous, non-traumatic intracerebral hemorrhage, is one of the only stroke subtypes without a proven treatment. It is not as common as ischemic stroke, representing up to 20% of all strokes, but it accounts for almost half of all stroke deaths worldwide.  Furthermore, about a quarter of intracerebral hemorrhage can be complicated by hematoma expansion which can occur up to 24 hours later and is itself associated with poor outcomes.  There have been only small trials looking at the use of tranexamic acid in this group of patients, until now.  The Tranexamic acid for hyperacute primary IntraCerebral Haemorrhage (TICH-2) trial looked to see if intravenous TXA reduces death and dependence when given within 8 hours of spontaneous ICH. Read more →