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Eye Exam Trumps MRI for Stroke Diagnosis

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When a patient comes to the emergency department complaining of dizziness, nausea or spinning sensations, it may be difficult for doctors to determine whether the problem is relatively minor or whether the symptoms are caused by a stroke. Getting the diagnosis right in a timely fashion is critical to appropriate treatment for stroke. Neurologists at Johns Hopkins and the University of Illinois conducted a study of 100 patients at St. Francis Hospital in Peoria, IL. They found that a one-minute eye movement test at the patient's bedside was even better than an expensive and time-consuming MRI to determine if the symptoms were being caused by a stroke. 69 out of 69 patients having a stroke were correctly diagnosed with the eye-movement test, whereas the MRI scans missed 8 out of the 69. The advantages of the eye-movement test are accuracy, low cost and speed.
[Stroke, online Sept. 17, 2009]
http://stroke.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/STROKEAHA.109.551234v1

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