Cost-Effectiveness of Emergent MRI during Stroke Alert to Diagnose Stroke Mimics: Single-Center Experience

J Neurosci Rural Pract. 2021 Jan;12(1):102-105. doi: 10.1055/s-0040-1721196. Epub 2021 Jan 29.


Objective The aim of this article was to assess the role of emergent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for stroke mimics during a stoke alert (within 45 minutes) in reducing direct cost of management and duration of inpatient stay. Methods We did a retrospective chart review of all the patients who received emergent MRI brain during a stroke alert to help make decision about intravenous tissue-type plasminogen activator (IV tPA) administration from January 2013 to December 2015. Using the patient financial resource data and with the help of billing department, we calculated the approximate money saved in taking care of the patients who may have received IV tPA if emergent MRI brain was not available to diagnose stroke mimics as they presented with acute neurologic deficit within IV tPA time window. Results Ninety seven out of 1,104 stroke alert patients received emergent MRI. Of these only 17 (17.5%) were diagnosed with acute ischemic stroke (AIS), and 80 (82.5%) as stroke mimics. By doing emergent MRI for suspected stroke mimics, our study showed an approximate total saving of $1,005,720 to $1,384,560, that is, $12,571 to $17,307 per patient in medical expenditure. Discussion We suggest modification of stroke pathway from current algorithm "CT+CTA≥IV-tPA/neurointervention≥MRI" to "MRI+MRA≥IV-tPA/neurointervention" for possible stroke mimics, which can reduce the cost, radiation exposure, and duration of hospital stay for stroke mimics. Conclusion Emergent MRI is a cost-effective tool to evaluate IV-tPA eligibility for suspected stroke mimics during a stroke alert.

Keywords: MRI; acute ischemic stroke management; duration of hospital stay; emergent MRI; health care cost; ischemic stroke; stroke mimics.

Grant support

Funding None.