Accuracy of clinical stroke scores for distinguishing stroke subtypes in resource poor settings: A systematic review of diagnostic test accuracy

Mwita CC, Kajia D, Gwer S, Etyang A, Newton CR
J Neurosci Rural Pract. 2014;5

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BACKGROUND: Stroke is the second leading cause of death globally. Computerized tomography is used to distinguish between ischemic and hemorrhagic subtypes, but it is expensive and unavailable in low and middle income countries. Clinical stroke scores are proposed to differentiate between stroke subtypes but their reliability is unknown. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We searched online databases for studies written in English and identified articles using predefined criteria. We considered studies in which the Siriraj, Guy's Hospital, Besson and Greek stroke scores were compared to computerized tomography as the reference standard. We calculated the pooled sensitivity and specificity of the clinical stroke scores using a bivariate mixed effects binomial regression model. RESULTS: In meta-analysis, sensitivity and specificity for the Siriraj stroke score, were 0.69 (95% CI 0.62-0.75) and 0.83 (95% CI 0.75-0.88) for ischemic stroke and 0.65 (95% CI 0.56-0.73) and 0.88 (95% CI 0.83-0.91) for hemorrhagic stroke. For the Guy's hospital stroke score overall sensitivity and specificity were 0.70 (95% CI 0.53-0.83) and 0.79 (95% CI 0.68-0.87) for ischemic stroke and 0.54 (95% CI 0.42-0.66) and 0.89 (95% CI 0.83-0.94) for hemorrhagic stroke. CONCLUSIONS: Clinical stroke scores are not accurate enough for use in clinical or epidemiological settings. Computerized tomography is recommended for differentiating stroke subtypes. Larger studies using different patient populations are required for validation of clinical stroke scores.