Aim: To evaluate the feasibility and impact of diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW MRI) as the first line neuroimaging of stroke at a district general hospital.
Methods: Prospective audit of all in-patients admitted with clinically suspected acute stroke and referred for imaging over a consecutive 17 week period. The data collected included scan type, time from cerebral event to imaging request, and time from formal radiological request to neuroimaging. Clinicians’ (general physicians, neurologists, and radiologists) perceptions were assessed by a questionnaire.
Results: 148 patients had neuroimaging for clinically suspected stroke during this period. Eighty one per cent of patients (120 of 148) had DW MRI as first line. Ninety two per cent of these patients had DW MRI within 24 hours of the formal radiological request. Twenty eight patients did not undergo DW MRI because lack of MRI safety, clinical state, unavailability because of maintenance service or lack of trained staff. Clinicians found the introduction of the DW MRI based service a significant improvement on computed tomography, especially for equivocal cases.
Conclusion: DW based MRI service is both feasible and sustainable in the setting of a district general hospital and most clinicians feel that this is a significant improvement to stroke services.
- CT, computed tomography
- DW MRI, diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging
- magnetic resonance imaging
- diffusion weighted imaging
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Competing interests: none to declare.
Guarantor: Dr Tom Meagher
Ethics: this work is based on published material and the authors consider this a service development, agreed by departments of radiology andnNeurology. Ethics approval was not deemed necessary. Data interpretation was undertaken as a commitment to audit the new process and was returned to the trust audit office.