Can the ABCD2 Risk Score Predict Positive Diagnostic Testing for Emergency Department Patients Admitted for Transient Ischemic Attack?
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Background and Purpose— We sought to determine if the ABCD2 score, typically used for risk stratification, could predict having a positive diagnostic test in patients evaluated acutely for transient ischemic attack.
Methods— We performed a retrospective cohort study for patients admitted from our emergency department with a new diagnosis of transient ischemic attack confirmed by a neurologist. ABCD2 scores were calculated and patients with a score of ≥4 were placed in the high-risk cohort. Tests evaluated included electrocardiogram, CT, MRI, MR angiography, carotid ultrasonography, and echocardiography. Specific test findings considered to signify positive diagnostic tests were created a priori.
Results— We identified 256 patients with transient ischemic attack for inclusion; 167 (61%) were female, the median age was 60 years (interquartile range, 50 to 72), and 162 (63%) patients had an ABCD2 score of ≥4. Rates of completion of diagnostic testing were electrocardiogram, 270 (100%); CT, 224 (88%); MRI, 89 (35%); MR angiography, 68 (27%); carotid ultrasonography, 125 (49%); and echocardiography, 135 (53%). Univariate analysis found a significant association only with elevated ABCD2 score and carotid duplex testing (P<0.05).
Conclusion— An elevated ABCD2 score may help predict patients with severe carotid occlusive disease but does not predict positive outcome in other commonly ordered tests for patients being evaluated for transient ischemic attack. An elevated ABCD2 score cannot be recommended as a tool to guide diagnostic testing in patients presenting acutely with transient ischemic attack.
- Received June 9, 2009.
- Accepted June 29, 2009.