Using the medical records of almost 190,000 patients in 1,016 hospitals, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, believe that emergency department physicians misdiagnose the early signs of stroke in 50,000 to 100,000 patients annually, particularly in women, minorities, and people below the age of 45.

The findings from the medical records review, reported online in the journal Diagnosis, show that women, minorities, and people under the age of 45 who present with symptoms of stroke including dizziness and headache were significantly more likely to be misdiagnosed in the week prior to sustaining a debilitating stroke. Younger people in the study were nearly seven times more likely to be given an incorrect diagnosis and sent home without treatment despite such symptoms.

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