A bedside electronic device that measures eye movements can successfully determine whether the cause of severe, continuous, disabling dizziness is a stroke or something benign, according to results of a small study led by Johns Hopkins researchers, reports Science Daily.
"Using this device can directly predict who has had a stroke and who has not," says David Newman-Toker, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of neurology and otolaryngology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of the study, according to the journal Stroke.
"We're spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on expensive stroke work-ups that are unnecessary, and probably missing the chance to save tens of thousands of lives because we aren't properly diagnosing their dizziness or vertigo as stroke symptoms."
Newman-Toker says if additional larger studies confirm these results, the device could one day be the equivalent of an electrocardiogram (EKG), a simple noninvasive test routinely used to rule out heart attack in patients with chest pain. And, he adds, universal use of the device could "virtually eliminate deaths from misdiagnosis and save a lot of time and money."