Podcast #291: Cincinnati Stroke Scale - The Emergency Medical Minute

 Author: Nick Hatch, M.D.

Educational Pearls

  • The Cincinnati Stroke Scale uses 3 measures to screen for ischemic stroke. The measures are: facial asymmetry, speech quality and arm drift.
  • This scale is used commonly in EMS systems as a screening tool.
  • Studies show that having one out of the 3 elements correlates with a 72% chance of having an ischemic stroke, while having all 3 of the elements correlates with an 85% chance. Overall the scale is highly sensitive but not very specific  (92% and 48%, respectively, in one study).
  • The measures focus on anterior circulation function, and often misses posterior circulation strokes.
  • The Cincinnati Stroke Scale is good for EMS, but not necessarily for emergency physicians.

References:  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1002/9781118783467.app5/asset/app5.pdf?v=1&t=jcf2yn71&s=3c2341ba472c1fcc88003dc0af7eac28691dd980

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