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Transient Ischemic Attack Patient Update: The Optimal Management of Emergency Department Patients With Suspected Cerebral Ischemia. Rapid TIA Patient Evaluation in US Emergency Departments and Observation Units: 2008 Opportunities .

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Transient Ischemic Attack Patient Update: The Optimal Management of Emergency Department Patients With Suspected Cerebral Ischemia

rapid evaluation of tia in u s emergency departments and observation units
Rapid Evaluation of TIA in U.S. Emergency Departments and Observation Units

Michael A. Ross MD FACEP

Associate Professor Emergency Medicine

Medical Director, Observation Medicine

Department of Emergency Medicine

Emory University School of Medicine

cme disclosure statement
CME Disclosure Statement
  • Research support from the Foundation for Education and Research in Neurologic Emergencies (FERNE) and Emergency Medicine Foundation (EMF)
course objectives
Course Objectives:
  • Learn what interventions are needed for TIA patients beyond the initial ED evaluation.
  • Know what outcomes may be expected from an EDOU diagnostic protocol for TIA patients
  • Understand what resources are needed to implement TIA protocol
case presentation
Case presentation
  • A 58 year old female presents to the emergency department after developing dysarthria, diploplia, numbness, and pronounced weakness of the right face and hand that lasted roughly 12 minutes. The patient feels completely normal and only came in at her families insistence.
    • Review of systems - mild headache with event. No palpitations, chest pain, or SOB.
    • Past medical history - Positive for hypertension and hyperlipidemia. No prior stroke or TIA.
    • Family history positive for premature coronary disease.
    • Meds - Beta-blocker for HTN. Not on aspirin.
    • Social - She does not smoke.
case presentation7
Case presentation
  • Phyisical Exam:

On examination the patient was normotensive, and comfortable.

  • HEENT exam showed no facial or oral asymmetry or numbness. No scalp tenderness.
  • CHEST exam showed no murmurs and a regular rhythm,
  • ABDOMINAL and EXTREMITY exam was normal,
  • NEUROLOGICAL exam showed normal mentation, CN II-XII normal as tested, motor / sensory exam normal, symmetrical normal reflexes, and normal cerebellar exam.
case presentation8
Case presentation
  • ED course:
    • ECG showed a normal sinus rhythm with mild LVH.
    • Non-contrast head CT scan was normal.
    • Blood-work (CBC with differential, electrolytes, BUN/Cr, and glucose) was normal. ESR was normal.
    • Monitor showed no dysrhythmias
    • Normal subsequent neurological symptoms.
    • The patient feels fine and is wondering if she can go home.

What do you think?

  • 300,000 TIAs occur annually
    • 10.5% suffer a stroke within 90 days of an ED visit
  • Stroke is preceded by TIA in 15% of pts
  • Stroke is the THIRD leading cause of death
    • National cost of stroke = $51 billion annually!
management of tia
Management of TIA:
  • Areas of Certainty:
    • Need for ED visit, ECG, labs, Head CT
  • Areas of less certainty
    • The timing of the carotid dopplers
    • The need for echocardiography
  • Areas of Uncertainty - Johnston SC. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:1687-92.
    • “The benefit of hospitalization is unknown. . . Observation units within the ED. . . may provide a more cost-effective option.”

To determine if TIA patients will experience:

    • shorter length of stays
    • lower costs
    • comparable clinical outcomes
  • . . . relative to traditional inpatient admission.
  • William Beaumont Hospital: A high-volume university-affiliated suburban teaching hospital
    • Emergency department
      • 2005 ED census = 115,894
    • ED observation unit = 21 beds
      • Emergency physician - “admitting” physician for all patients
patient population
Patient population:
  • Presented to the ED with symptoms of TIA
  • ED evaluation:
    • History and physical
    • ECG, monitor, HCT
    • Appropriate labs
    • Diagnosis of TIA established
      • Decision to admit or observe
methods adp exclusion criteria
Methods:ADP Exclusion criteria
  • Persistent acute neurological deficits
  • Crescendo TIAs
  • Positive HCT
  • Known embolic source (including a. fib)
  • Known carotid stenosis (>50%)
  • Non-focal symptoms
  • Hypertensive encephalopathy / emergency
  • Prior stroke with large remaining deficit
  • Severe dementia or nursing home patient
  • Social issues making ED discharge / follow up unlikely
  • History of IV drug use
methods adp interventions
Methods:ADP Interventions
  • TIA Protocol Development process:
    • Consensus group:
      • Emergency medicine, Neurology, Vascular Surgery, Cardiology, Radiology, Internal Medicine.
    • Protocol development:
      • Literature search, consensus protocol, pre-study pilot testing phase (>1year), study phase.
  • BOTH study groups had orders for the same four components
accelerated diagnostic protocol adp in an ed observation unit edou
Accelerated Diagnostic Protocol (ADP) in an ED Observation Unit (EDOU)

Ross MA et al. Ann Emerg Med 2007;50(2):109-119.

methods adp disposition criteria
Methods:ADP Disposition criteria
  • Home
    • No recurrent deficits, negative workup
    • Appropriate antiplatelet therapy and follow-up
  • Inpatient admission from EDOU
    • Recurrent symptoms or neuro deficit
    • Surgical carotid stenosis (ie >50%)
    • Embolic source requiring treatment (anticoagulation)
    • Unable to safely discharge patient
medical management antiplatelet therapy

Medical managementAntiplatelet Therapy

Useful in non-cardioembolic causes

Aspirin 50-325 mg/day

Clopidogrel or ticlopidine

Aspirin plus dipyridamole

Latter two if ASA intolerant or if TIA while on ASA

medical management risk factor management

Medical managementRisk Factor Management

HTN: BP below 140/90

DM: fasting glucose < 126 mg/dl

Hyperlipidemia: LDL < 100 mg/dl

Stop smoking!

Exercise 30-60 min, 3x/week

Avoid excessive alcohol use

Weight loss: < 120% of ideal weight

results length of stay
Results:Length of Stay


Inpatient = 61.2 hr

ADP = 25.6 hr

Difference = 29.8 hr

(Hodges-Lehmann, p<0.001)

ADP sub-groups:

ADP - home = 24.2 hr

ADP - admit = 100.5 hr

outcomes of index visit clinical testing adp in edou versus inpatient admission
Outcomes of Index Visit Clinical Testing:ADP in EDOU versus Inpatient Admission

Ross MA et al. Ann Emerg Med 2007;50(2):109-119.

90 day clinical outcomes adp in edou versus inpatient admission
90 Day Clinical Outcomes:ADP in EDOU versus Inpatient Admission
  • 11% incidence of stroke at 90 days
    • 3% after discharge

Ross MA et al. Ann Emerg Med 2007;50(2):109-119.

results 90 day costs
Results:90 - day Costs


Inpatient = $1548

ADP = $890

Difference = $540

(Hodges-Lehmann, p<0.001)

ADP sub-groups:

ADP - home = $844

ADP - admit = $2,737

study conclusion
Study conclusion:

Compared to inpatient admission, the ED TIA diagnostic protocol was:

  • More efficient
  • Less costly
  • With comparable (or better) outcomes
unanswered questions
Unanswered questions:
  • With newer TIA risk scores and imaging, what is the optimal ADP for 2009?
  • Will an ADP for TIA follow the Chest Pain experience and show:
    • Improved patient satisfaction ?
    • Improved quality of life?
    • Improved hospital resource availability?
  • Do findings from the EXPRESS and SOS-TIA studies apply to the ADP?
    • Lower rates of stroke compared with traditional care
Unanswered questions:4. Can an ADP be used for patients with a very small clinical stroke (ie NIHSS<2)?Comparable 90 day risk

Subsequent stroke rate for patients with TIA vs small stroke

Lancet Neurol 2006; 5: 323–31

hospital resources needed for the tia adp
Hospital Resources Needed for the TIA ADP
  • Rapid Treatment Unit / Area for Patients
    • Appropriate staffing, ECG monitoring
  • Carotid imaging availability
    • MRI/MRA or CTA – Nice if you have them
    • Doppler – Adequate as an alternative
  • Echocardiography for selected patients
    • Timing and need for echo remains unclear
  • Neurology consultation availability
national feasibility
National Feasibility
  • National feasibility of ADP:
    • 18% of EDs have an EDOU
    • 220 JCAHO stroke centers
    • 380 SCPC accredited CPCs
  • Learning from these models -

Hospitals with ADP resources may have:

    • More inpatient beds
    • More competitive market
    • Higher volume
    • More likely to be urban
economic implications u s health care costs
Economic Implications – U.S. Health Care Costs
  • National health care costs
    • “Hospital Care” accounts for the largest portion of US health care (30%)
    • Potential savings:
      • If only 18% used ADP = $29 million
      • If all used ADP = $161 million
    • Medicare is now paying hospitals for the observation of ALL conditions (including TIA) with APC 8003
      • Effective January
clinical case outcome
  • The patient was started on aspirin and admitted to the ED observation unit.
  • While in the unit she had a 2-D echo with bubble contrast, that was normal. She had no arrhythmia detected on cardiac monitoring and no subsequent neurological deficits.
  • However, carotid dopplers were abnormal. She showed 30-50% stenosis of the right internal carotid artery, and a severe flow limiting >70% stenosis of the left carotid artery at the origin of the internal carotid artery.
  • She was admitted to the hospital for endarterectomy. Five days following ED arrival, and following inpatient pre-operative clearance, she underwent successful endarterectomy.
  • On one month follow-up she was asymptomatic and her carotids were doing well.
  • TIAs are ominous
    • Justifies acute interventions, including hospitalization
    • Opportunity to prevent injury
  • “TIAs” are heterogeneous in origin
    • Management should be individualized
    • Prognostic scores and newer imaging may help
  • Secondary prevention is critical
questions www ferne org maross@emory edu