Frequency of neuro-imaging in the emergency room in patients with vertigo: A cross-sectional study at a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan

Document Type



Emergency Medicine


Objective: To determine the frequency of neuro-imaging and the prevalence of positive findings in patients with vertigo visiting an emergency room of a low-middle-income-country, Pakistan.
Methods: This is a retrospective cross-sectional study conducted in the emergency room of the Aga Khan University Hospital, a 550 bedded tertiary care teaching facility located in Karachi, Pakistan. The frequency of neuro-imaging in patients visiting emergency room with vertigo during 20 years (2000-2020), their findings and disposition was calculated in percentages. A cost-analysis was performed in Pakistani Rupees & US Dollars to estimate the financial burden.
Results: During the emergency room visits for vertigo, neuro-imaging (CT scans, MRIs, or both) was conducted for 159 patients, accounting for 70.98% of the cases. Out of these, 64 individuals (40.25%) received a positive diagnosis, which included acute infarcts, hemorrhages, metastases, space-occupying lesions, and meningeal enhancements. Interestingly, among those with negative findings, the 98 patients faced significantly higher costs, amounting to Rs.4,108,000 ($22,449), in contrast to the positive cases, which incurred Rs.2,496,600 ($13,642).
Conclusion: The frequency of obtaining neuro-imaging tests in patients with vertigo were significantly high in our study. In addition, there was a significant financial burden associated with neuro-imaging especially for our low-middle-income country.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences