Head Computed tomography during emergency department treat-and-release visit for headache is associated with increased risk of subsequent cerebrovascular disease hospitalization

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3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The occurrence of head computed tomography (HCT) at emergency department (ED) visit for non-specific neurological symptoms has been associated with increased subsequent stroke risk and may be a marker of diagnostic error. We evaluate whether HCT occurrence among ED headache patients is associated with increased subsequent cerebrovascular disease risk. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of consecutive adult patients with headache who were discharged home from the ED (ED treat-and-release visit) at one multicenter institution. Patients with headache were defined as those with primary ICD-9/10-CM discharge diagnoses codes for benign headache from 9/1/2013-9/1/2018. The primary outcome of cerebrovascular disease hospitalization was identified using ICD-9/10-CM codes and confirmed via chart review. We matched headache patients who had a HCT (exposed) to those who did not have a HCT (unexposed) in the ED in a one-to-one fashion using propensity score methods. Among the 28,121 adult patients with ED treat-and-release headache visit, 45.6% (n=12,811) underwent HCT. A total of 0.4% (n=111) had a cerebrovascular hospitalization within 365 days of index visit. Using propensity score matching, 80.4% (n=10,296) of exposed patients were matched to unexposed. Exposed patients had increased risk of cerebrovascular hospitalization at 365 days (RR: 1.65: 95% CI: 1.18-2.31) and 180 days (RR: 1.62; 95% CI: 1.06-2.49); risk of cerebrovascular hospitalization was not increased at 90 or 30 days. Having a HCT performed at ED treat-and-release headache visit is associated with increased risk of subsequent cerebrovascular disease. Future work to improve cerebrovascular disease prevention strategies in this subset of headache patients is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-208
Number of pages10
JournalDiagnosis
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2021

Keywords

  • cerebrovascular disease
  • emergency medicine
  • headache

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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