Misdiagnosis of a stroke is a very serious mistake because studies have shown a quick reaction to the issue can prevent severe damage to the brain and limit lasting side effects. However, Neurology Today explains there is a rather high incidence misdiagnosis of strokes in emergency room patients.
It is also the fourth most common condition to receive a misdiagnosis. They do believe they know what misdiagnosis happens so often.
A missed diagnosis will typically happen most often with mild strokes. The symptoms of headache, nausea and dizziness that come with a stroke are very common with a range of other less severe conditions. Unless a doctor conducts neuroimaging, it would be impossible to diagnosis the patient with a stroke.
Many times, sufferers also have some neurological issues but they come and go, which can confuse a doctor. They may also have complaints that are not centered around anything specific, such as generally feeling unwell or having an upset stomach.
Common symptom complaints that lead to a misdiagnosis likely leads to up to 60% of cases with a missed stroke diagnosis. There may be as many as 100,000 missed cases per year.
A clear and complete medical history is also important in getting the right diagnosis. Many times, especially in the ER, doctors do not get all the information they need because charts are incomplete or the patient is unable to give the information. A doctor will be more likely to make the jump to stroke if they know a patient has a history or a family history with the condition.
A stroke is a serious medical condition requiring quick action, but misdiagnosis can lead to letting the damage continue for too long. Patients should make sure to give specific symptoms explanations and a complete medical history to help doctors avoid misdiagnosis.