Paramedics are probably right when they suspect strokes

News-medical.net: March 29, 2012 at 2:17 AM

Identified stroke patients with 99.3 percent specificity

If a paramedic suspects a patient is having a stroke, the paramedic is probably right, a Loyola University Medical Center study has found.

Researchers examined the records of 5,300 patients who were brought to Loyola’s emergency room by emergency medical services (EMS). Paramedics were able to identify stroke patients with a 99.3 percent specificity. (In diagnosing disease, a high specificity rate indicates there’s a high probability the patient actually has the disease.)

“If a paramedic thinks a patient is having a stroke, that should be a reliable indicator that the hospital’s stroke team should be activated,” said Dr. Michael Schneck, a co-author of the study, which will be presented at the 64th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in New Orleans. Read more