MRI v. CT FOR DIAGNOSING STROKES
Our local paper, the Roanoke Times, ran a good article from the AP this morning:
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/D/DIAGNOSING_STROKES?SITE=VAROA&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT. The Article states that new studies reveal that MRIs provide superior diagnosing images over CT scans for physicians when seeking evidence of a stroke. The study said with MRIs, the physicians diagnosed the stroke correctely 83% of the time, where those physicians working with CT scans, were correct only 26% of the time. So why would any ER physician not order the MRI? Well, the reasons may be as follows: Cost (MRIs are much more expensive to insurance companies and consumers); Availability (smaller hospitals may not have MRI on site); Time (MRIs take longer generally) and you can think of many other reasons…. But the study avers that it is actually below the standard of care NOT to order an MRI if the equipment is available. So families, I know in times of crisis, it is difficult to be a health care advocate instead of a worried loved one – but ask the ER nurse or physician, or radiology tech that wheels your loved one back to the imaging room – “Do you do MRIs here?” And if the answer is yes, and one hasn’t been ordered – ask for one, and ask the nurse to make a note in the chart that you have requested it. After all, its worth the extra hundred dollars if it provides your treating physician with a more accurate view of what has happened.