Physician knowledge and practices in the evaluation of coagulopathies in stroke patients.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Coagulopathies are a rare cause of ischemic stroke. Prior studies demonstrate that current physician test-ordering practices for the evaluation of these conditions in patients with ischemic stroke is not optimal. We sought to determine neurologists' views regarding their use of specialized coagulation testing to better understand the possible reasons for these practices. METHODS: A survey with multiple-choice and open-ended questions regarding knowledge of and approaches to the evaluation of coagulopathies was sent to a convenience sample of 79 neurologists (26 academic neurology faculty, 24 residents/fellows, and 29 community-based practitioners). RESULTS: Fifty-nine (75%) surveys were completed (response rates: faculty 73%, residents/fellows 88%, and community-based practice 66%). Specialized coagulation tests were reported to infrequently influence stroke patient management (<25% of the time or never for 95% of respondents). Factors reported to increase test-ordering included young patient age (76%), history of thrombosis (46%), history of miscarriages (36%), and having few traditional stroke risk factors (35%). Most (88%) indicated they would order specialized coagulation tests for a hypothetical young patient with no known stroke risk factors. In contrast, only 14% would obtain the tests for a patient having traditional stroke risk factors, and none would order the tests for a stroke patient with atrial fibrillation. CONCLUSIONS: Physician-reported practices for obtaining specialized coagulation tests differ from those found in observational studies in which more indiscriminate test ordering was observed. Closing knowledge gaps and improving application of physician's current knowledge to their test-ordering practices could help to optimize diagnostic testing for coagulopathies in patients with ischemic stroke.
Bushnell, CD; Goldstein, LB
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