CT scanning in acute stroke patients (at home or Community Hospital)

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CT scanning MUST be performed within 12 hours of admission.

A CT scan is used to distinguish between ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke. Making this distinction is important to enable appropriate secondary prevention to be used.

Acute Treatment of Ischaemic Stroke Guideline

Suitability for Secondary Prevention

Typically suitable where a confident clinical diagnosis of stroke has been made; AND
• A further vascular event would have important clinical consequences; AND
• Patients could tolerate, or co-operate with, antiplatelet or anticoagulant and other drug treatment; OR
• Has suffered a carotid distribution TIA or stroke with good recovery and is otherwise fit for carotid surgery – Rapid outpatient referral for assessment for carotid surgery is required;
• There is no upper age limit for secondary prevention, although age will influence assessment for carotid surgery;
• Further details are provided in Protocol for Secondary Prevention.

Referral for CT scan

Complete x-ray request and referral form specifying:
• Date of onset
• Symptoms and signs of suspected stroke
• Previous CNS history
• Previous and current medical history (if relevant) including current medication
• Transport arrangements patients should not drive themselves (ambulance or hospital car)
• Referring GP/Consultant contact number (Work and Home)
• For all patients scans cannot be performed without confirmed ID. For Hospital patients wristband ID is essential
• For patients at home a contact number is required. If patient is unable to communicate they must be accompanied to allow identification.
• Case notes and Drug Kardex must accompany all hospital patients.

Editorial Information

Last reviewed: 31 January 2019

Next review: 31 January 2020

Author(s): Stroke Clinical Network

Version: 2.2

Approved By: TAM subgroup of the ADTC

Reviewer Name(s): Stroke Co-ordinator