The Particulars: Stroke is among the most common admissions to inpatient neurology. Patients with stroke-like symptoms may not require admission, but barriers may exist to their discharge.

Data Breakdown: A study looked at patients who presented to the ED with stroke-like symptoms buthad a negative brain MRI for stroke and did not receive tPA. Patients were divided into those who underwent brain MRIs in the ED and those who received this diagnostic test after hospital admission. Hospitalized patients had an average length of stay of 2 days, compared with 1 day for those who were discharged from the ED. Hospitalization was associated with an average cost of $27,241, compared with $11,220 for those who were discharged from the ED.

Take Home Pearl: The cost of hospitalization appears to be nearly 60% higher when patients with stroke-like symptoms are hospitalized but have negative results for stroke following a brain MRI, when compared with discharging these patients from the ED.