Intended for healthcare professionals


Earlier diagnosis is needed to reduce deaths and disability from aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 22 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6925
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

Failure by GPs and hospital doctors to recognise symptoms of aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage contributes to longer time to treatment and poorer outcomes in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland than in other developed countries, show results from an audit.1

The latest report of the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) recommends introducing standard protocols of care to improve the diagnosis and stabilisation of patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage, referral to neurosurgical centres, and subsequent rehabilitation. It also advises setting up formal networks of care, linking all secondary care hospitals to designated regional neurosurgical and neuroscience centres.

“This potentially fatal disease has to progress from the GP’s surgery or accident and emergency, where it may present ostensibly as a simple headache, to the operative setting as fast as possible,” said Bertie Leigh, NCEPOD’s chairman. …

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