Group Wants More Imaging for Stroke

MANAGED CARE September 2011. ©MediMedia USA

The Brain Attack Coalition (BAC), a group of medical and scientific organizations, both not-for-profit and governmental, that are leaders in the field of stroke, has recommended using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain in lieu of computer tomography (CT) if it can be performed within 25 minutes of being ordered, the current time standard for CT.

The group also recommended heart imaging, since strokes are often caused by blood clots from the heart, and it recommended two new techniques for imaging the blood vessels in and around the brain that may be involved in a stroke. The recommendations reflect advances in stroke treatment over the past decade and are published online in the September issue of Stroke.

Imaging costs are skyrocketing, and these new recommendations will have insurers looking for creative ways to manage them.

The BAC also recommended the use of certified primary stroke centers (PSCs), especially for stroke patients who need emergency care. These centers have improved the care and treatment of acute stroke patients. The idea behind the PSCs arose from a need to provide rapid, uniform, evidence-based treatment to all stroke victims.

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