Introduction: The cost-effectiveness of clinical interventions is often assessed using current care as comparator. However, evidence suggests practice variation in stroke imaging across countries. For the purpose of feeding into cost-effectiveness analysis, this research aims to describe the patterns of stroke imaging, examine practice variations across countries and, as such, obtain results reflecting current care. Areas covered: A systematic literature review was conducted to identify original studies reporting the imaging workup used in acute stroke care in clinical practice in Hungary, Germany, Sweden and the UK. Information regarding the type and frequency of stroke imaging was analysed. Computed Tomography (CT) was reported as the main diagnostic imaging modality used in stroke care (78–98% across patient profiles and time periods). This review revealed patterns that were not observed in individual studies. Comparisons of UK studies revealed considerable variations in the proportion of scanned patients and timing of imaging. Expert commentary: While the evidence about thrombectomy is difficult to translate in clinical practice, the evidence regarding the optimal imaging approach to diagnose stroke patients is lacking. The heterogeneity in stroke imaging reinforces the need to compare the quality of stroke care within and between countries.

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Keywords clinical practice variation, diagnosis, Europe, imaging, Stroke
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Journal Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research
Peultier, A-C, Redekop, W.K, Coche, J.C.R, & Severens, J.L. (2018). What are the images used to diagnose and assess suspected strokes?: A systematic literature review of care in four European countries. Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research (Vol. 18, pp. 177–189). doi:10.1080/14737167.2018.1429270