The Bucket Test Improves Detection of Stroke in Patients With Acute Dizziness.
BACKGROUND: It is challenging to detect posterior circulation strokes in patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with acute dizziness. The current approach uses a combinatorial head-impulse, nystagmus, and test-of-skew method and is sensitive enough to differentiate central causes from peripheral ones. However, it is difficult to perform and underused. Further, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain is not always available and can have low sensitivity for detecting posterior circulation strokes.
OBJECTIVES: We evaluated the feasibility and utility of the bucket test (BT), which measures the difference between patient's subjective perception of the visual vertical and the true vertical, as a screening tool for stroke in patients presenting to the ED with acute dizziness.
METHODS: In this work, we prospectively enrolled 81 patients that presented to our academic medical center ED with dizziness as their chief complaint. The BT was performed 3 times for every patient.
RESULTS: Seventy-one patients met the study criteria and were included in the analysis. Ten patients were excluded because of a history of drug-seeking behavior. There were no reported difficulties performing the BT. Six patients (8%) were diagnosed with ischemic stroke on MRI and 1 additional patient was diagnosed with transient ischemic attack and found to have a stroke on subsequent MRI. All 7 patients with dizziness attributed to cerebrovascular etiology had an abnormal BT, resulting in a sensitivity of 100% (95% confidence interval [CI] 59-100%). The specificity of the BT was 38% (95% CI 24-52%). The positive predictive value of the BT for detecting stroke was 18% (95% CI 15-21%).
CONCLUSIONS: The BT is an easy, cheap, safe, and quick test that is feasible and sensitive to screen acutely dizzy patients for stroke in the ED.
Published In/Presented At
Shaban, A., Zafar, A., Borte, B., Elhawi, Y., Maamar-Tayeb, A., Eyck, P. T., Ahmed, A., Wattiez, A. S., & Fattal, D. (2021). The Bucket Test Improves Detection of Stroke in Patients With Acute Dizziness. The Journal of emergency medicine, 60(4), 485–494. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jemermed.2020.10.052
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Medicine