Journal Mobile

MW Weatherall
Journal Issue: 
Volume 36: Issue 3: 2006




A  significant  expansion  of  acute  neurological  services  in  the  UK  is planned, but there is little contemporary information on the burden of acute neurology  in  modern  hospital  practice.   The  objective  of  this  study  was  to provide comprehensive information on the numbers of patients admitted with acute neurological problems, referral patterns to neurological services, and the utilisation of resources for investigation of neurological problems. The method used was a prospective survey of 1,197 acute medical admissions to a district general  hospital  in  North-West  England.    It  was  found  that  neurological problems  accounted  for  181  (15·1%)  of  acute  admissions.  Of  these, only  59 (32·6%) saw a neurologist or neurosurgeon, and only 28 (15·5%) were admitted under  the  neurological  services.   The  most  common  presenting  complaints were cerebrovascular disease (34·3%), seizures (26·5%), and headache (17·7%). One  hundred  and  nine  patients  (9·1%)  underwent  cranial  CT  scanning, 68 within  48  hours  of  admission. It  was  concluded  that  acute  neurological problems  are  common. In  many  centres,  even  those  with  embedded neurological  services, they  are  still  largely  managed  by  general  physicians.  A restricted  range  of  neurological  conditions  make  up  most  of  the  acute  case load. These  facts  should  be  taken  into  consideration  when  planning  acute neurological  services,  and  also  in  the  delivery  of  undergraduate  and postgraduate education in neurology.