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J Emerg Med. 2005 Jul;29(1):23-7.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage diagnosis by computed tomography and lumbar puncture: are fifth generation CT scanners better at identifying subarachnoid hemorrhage?

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  • 1Idaho Emergency Physicians, Boise, Idaho, USA.


This study sought to determine the sensitivity and specificity of modern computed tomography (CT) scans for the diagnosis of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). No studies have been done recently with fifth generation CT scanners to look at the diagnosis of SAH. A retrospective chart review was done of Emergency Department (ED), laboratory, and hospital records at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, North Carolina over 1 year from January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2002. Patients presented with headache and had a CT scan of the head with a fifth generation multi-detector CT scanner followed by a lumbar puncture (LP) to rule out SAH. There were 177 patients who presented to the ED with headache and went on to have a CT scan and an LP to rule out SAH. No patients who had a negative CT were found to have a subarachoid hemorrhage. It is concluded that fifth generation CT scanners are probably more sensitive than earlier scanners at detecting SAH.

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