Journal of the Korean Society of Emergency Medicine (대한응급의학회지), Vol.12(4) : 439~446, 2001
Journal of the Korean Society of Emergency Medicine (대한응급의학회지)
Background: The management of vertiginous patients is a great challenge to emergency physicians. We evaluated the diagnostic value of a diffusion-weighted image (DWI) in differentiating central vertigo from the peripheral vertigo in patients who presented no neurological symptoms other than risk factors for stroke. Methods: From March 2000 to February 2001, we retrospectively analyzed the cases of 68 patients who visited the emergency department with symptoms of isolated vertigo and who had risk factors for stroke. DWIs, computed tomograms (CT), and medical records were reviewed, and the final diagnose, the DWIs and the CT readings, the risk factors for stroke, and the time it took waiting for a DWI or CT scan were analyzed. Results: Of the 68 patients, 21 (30.8%) had central vertigo: 15 vertebrobasilar transient ischemic attacks (VB-TIA), 4 brain stem infarctions, 1 cerebellar infarction, and 1 cerebellopeduncular infarction. The DWI showed a 28.6% sensitivity, a 97.9% specificity, and an 85.7% positive predictive value in diagnosing central vertigo. It also had a 100% sensitivity in detecting infarctions. Conclusion: A DWI had a comparable sensitivity to MRI in detecting central vertigo and small, but potentially, lethal infarctions in our patient population. We recommend clinical application of DWI in the emergency department evaluation of isolated vertigo patients with risk factors for stroke.