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Managed Care Partners - Cost of Treating Dizziness in ER Soars

Managed Care Partners Fall 2013

Cost of Treating Dizziness in ER Soars

Date: November 1, 2013

A recent Johns Hopkins research report says emergency room visits for severe dizziness have grown exponentially in recent years, with costs topping $3.9 billion in 2011 and projected to reach $4.4 billion by 2015. The investigators say roughly half a billion a year could be saved immediately if emergency room physicians stopped the routine and excessive use of head CT scans to search for stroke in dizzy patients, and instead used simple bedside physical exams to identify the small group of patients that truly needs imaging.

The research team, led by Johns Hopkins Associate Professsor of Neurology David Newman-Toker, analyzed records from two large, national public databases and concluded that a large percentage of patients who come to the emergency department with dizziness are suffering from a benign inner-ear disorder, while just 5 percent of those whose major complaint is dizziness are having a stroke. Nearly half of all patients with dizziness now get CT scans, according to the report, published in the July issue of the journal Academic Emergency Medicine.