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Concept: Barthel scale


Background Unconscious survivors of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest have a high risk of death or poor neurologic function. Therapeutic hypothermia is recommended by international guidelines, but the supporting evidence is limited, and the target temperature associated with the best outcome is unknown. Our objective was to compare two target temperatures, both intended to prevent fever. Methods In an international trial, we randomly assigned 950 unconscious adults after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest of presumed cardiac cause to targeted temperature management at either 33°C or 36°C. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality through the end of the trial. Secondary outcomes included a composite of poor neurologic function or death at 180 days, as evaluated with the Cerebral Performance Category (CPC) scale and the modified Rankin scale. Results In total, 939 patients were included in the primary analysis. At the end of the trial, 50% of the patients in the 33°C group (235 of 473 patients) had died, as compared with 48% of the patients in the 36°C group (225 of 466 patients) (hazard ratio with a temperature of 33°C, 1.06; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.89 to 1.28; P=0.51). At the 180-day follow-up, 54% of the patients in the 33°C group had died or had poor neurologic function according to the CPC, as compared with 52% of patients in the 36°C group (risk ratio, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.88 to 1.16; P=0.78). In the analysis using the modified Rankin scale, the comparable rate was 52% in both groups (risk ratio, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.89 to 1.14; P=0.87). The results of analyses adjusted for known prognostic factors were similar. Conclusions In unconscious survivors of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest of presumed cardiac cause, hypothermia at a targeted temperature of 33°C did not confer a benefit as compared with a targeted temperature of 36°C. (Funded by the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation and others; TTM number, NCT01020916 .).

Concepts: Cardiac arrest, Modified Rankin Scale, Therapeutic hypothermia, Barthel scale


Background Among patients with a proximal vessel occlusion in the anterior circulation, 60 to 80% of patients die within 90 days after stroke onset or do not regain functional independence despite alteplase treatment. We evaluated rapid endovascular treatment in addition to standard care in patients with acute ischemic stroke with a small infarct core, a proximal intracranial arterial occlusion, and moderate-to-good collateral circulation. Methods We randomly assigned participants to receive standard care (control group) or standard care plus endovascular treatment with the use of available thrombectomy devices (intervention group). Patients with a proximal intracranial occlusion in the anterior circulation were included up to 12 hours after symptom onset. Patients with a large infarct core or poor collateral circulation on computed tomography (CT) and CT angiography were excluded. Workflow times were measured against predetermined targets. The primary outcome was the score on the modified Rankin scale (range, 0 [no symptoms] to 6 [death]) at 90 days. A proportional odds model was used to calculate the common odds ratio as a measure of the likelihood that the intervention would lead to lower scores on the modified Rankin scale than would control care (shift analysis). Results The trial was stopped early because of efficacy. At 22 centers worldwide, 316 participants were enrolled, of whom 238 received intravenous alteplase (120 in the intervention group and 118 in the control group). In the intervention group, the median time from study CT of the head to first reperfusion was 84 minutes. The rate of functional independence (90-day modified Rankin score of 0 to 2) was increased with the intervention (53.0%, vs. 29.3% in the control group; P<0.001). The primary outcome favored the intervention (common odds ratio, 2.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.7 to 3.8; P<0.001), and the intervention was associated with reduced mortality (10.4%, vs. 19.0% in the control group; P=0.04). Symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage occurred in 3.6% of participants in intervention group and 2.7% of participants in control group (P=0.75). Conclusions Among patients with acute ischemic stroke with a proximal vessel occlusion, a small infarct core, and moderate-to-good collateral circulation, rapid endovascular treatment improved functional outcomes and reduced mortality. (Funded by Covidien and others; ESCAPE number, NCT01778335 .).

Concepts: Stroke, Modified Rankin Scale, Barthel scale


Background Whether rapid lowering of elevated blood pressure would improve the outcome in patients with intracerebral hemorrhage is not known. Methods We randomly assigned 2839 patients who had had a spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage within the previous 6 hours and who had elevated systolic blood pressure to receive intensive treatment to lower their blood pressure (with a target systolic level of <140 mm Hg within 1 hour) or guideline-recommended treatment (with a target systolic level of <180 mm Hg) with the use of agents of the physician's choosing. The primary outcome was death or major disability, which was defined as a score of 3 to 6 on the modified Rankin scale (in which a score of 0 indicates no symptoms, a score of 5 indicates severe disability, and a score of 6 indicates death) at 90 days. A prespecified ordinal analysis of the modified Rankin score was also performed. The rate of serious adverse events was compared between the two groups. Results Among the 2794 participants for whom the primary outcome could be determined, 719 of 1382 participants (52.0%) receiving intensive treatment, as compared with 785 of 1412 (55.6%) receiving guideline-recommended treatment, had a primary outcome event (odds ratio with intensive treatment, 0.87; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.75 to 1.01; P=0.06). The ordinal analysis showed significantly lower modified Rankin scores with intensive treatment (odds ratio for greater disability, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.77 to 1.00; P=0.04). Mortality was 11.9% in the group receiving intensive treatment and 12.0% in the group receiving guideline-recommended treatment. Nonfatal serious adverse events occurred in 23.3% and 23.6% of the patients in the two groups, respectively. Conclusions In patients with intracerebral hemorrhage, intensive lowering of blood pressure did not result in a significant reduction in the rate of the primary outcome of death or severe disability. An ordinal analysis of modified Rankin scores indicated improved functional outcomes with intensive lowering of blood pressure. (Funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia; INTERACT2 number, NCT00716079 .).

Concepts: Hypertension, Blood pressure, Modified Rankin Scale, Cerebral hemorrhage, Disability, Orthostatic hypotension, Barthel scale, Rehabilitation medicine


Background Endovascular therapy is increasingly used after the administration of intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) for patients with moderate-to-severe acute ischemic stroke, but whether a combined approach is more effective than intravenous t-PA alone is uncertain. Methods We randomly assigned eligible patients who had received intravenous t-PA within 3 hours after symptom onset to receive additional endovascular therapy or intravenous t-PA alone, in a 2:1 ratio. The primary outcome measure was a modified Rankin scale score of 2 or less (indicating functional independence) at 90 days (scores range from 0 to 6, with higher scores indicating greater disability). Results The study was stopped early because of futility after 656 participants had undergone randomization (434 patients to endovascular therapy and 222 to intravenous t-PA alone). The proportion of participants with a modified Rankin score of 2 or less at 90 days did not differ significantly according to treatment (40.8% with endovascular therapy and 38.7% with intravenous t-PA; absolute adjusted difference, 1.5 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], -6.1 to 9.1, with adjustment for the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale [NIHSS] score [8-19, indicating moderately severe stroke, or ≥20, indicating severe stroke]), nor were there significant differences for the predefined subgroups of patients with an NIHSS score of 20 or higher (6.8 percentage points; 95% CI, -4.4 to 18.1) and those with a score of 19 or lower (-1.0 percentage point; 95% CI, -10.8 to 8.8). Findings in the endovascular-therapy and intravenous t-PA groups were similar for mortality at 90 days (19.1% and 21.6%, respectively; P=0.52) and the proportion of patients with symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage within 30 hours after initiation of t-PA (6.2% and 5.9%, respectively; P=0.83). Conclusions The trial showed similar safety outcomes and no significant difference in functional independence with endovascular therapy after intravenous t-PA, as compared with intravenous t-PA alone. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others; number, NCT00359424 .).

Concepts: Stroke, Modified Rankin Scale, Disability, Tissue plasminogen activator, Thrombolysis, Plasmin, Barthel scale, Rehabilitation medicine


BACKGROUND: Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in China. Current treatments for stroke are limited and achieve no optimal effect. Acupuncture is widely used in the treatment of stroke and in improving the quality of life for patients in China. In most previous clinical studies, the effects of acupuncture have been diverse, and few well-designed randomized controlled trials have been conducted to investigate the long-term effect of acupuncture on acute stroke recovery. METHOD: Three hundred and twenty eight subjects with acute cerebral apoplexy will be recruited. The patients will be randomized into two different groups: the intervention group will receive acupuncture treatment together with Western standard treatment for 2 weeks plus the secondary prevention treatment for 22 weeks; the control group will receive only the Western standard treatment for 2 weeks and the secondary prevention treatment for 22 weeks. The primary outcome measures are Barthel Index and the Stroke-Specific Quality Of Life. The secondary outcome measures are the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale and Modified Rankin Scale. All assessments will be conducted at the baseline and at weeks 4, 12 and 24 of follow-up. DISCUSSION: This study will evaluate the effects of acupuncture on the long-term recovery of acute stroke and on improving the quality of life of the patients. The results of this study will help establish optimal integrated therapeutic strategies for patients with stroke.Trial registrationCurrent Controlled Trials ISRCTN29932220.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Randomized controlled trial, Effectiveness, Modified Rankin Scale, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical research, Barthel scale, Rehabilitation medicine


Background We aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of thrombectomy for the treatment of stroke in a trial embedded within a population-based stroke reperfusion registry. Methods During a 2-year period at four centers in Catalonia, Spain, we randomly assigned 206 patients who could be treated within 8 hours after the onset of symptoms of acute ischemic stroke to receive either medical therapy (including intravenous alteplase when eligible) and endovascular therapy with the Solitaire stent retriever (thrombectomy group) or medical therapy alone (control group). All patients had confirmed proximal anterior circulation occlusion and the absence of a large infarct on neuroimaging. In all study patients, the use of alteplase either did not achieve revascularization or was contraindicated. The primary outcome was the severity of global disability at 90 days, as measured on the modified Rankin scale (ranging from 0 [no symptoms] to 6 [death]). Although the maximum planned sample size was 690, enrollment was halted early because of loss of equipoise after positive results for thrombectomy were reported from other similar trials. Results Thrombectomy reduced the severity of disability over the range of the modified Rankin scale (adjusted odds ratio for improvement of 1 point, 1.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05 to 2.8) and led to higher rates of functional independence (a score of 0 to 2) at 90 days (43.7% vs. 28.2%; adjusted odds ratio, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.1 to 4.0). At 90 days, the rates of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage were 1.9% in both the thrombectomy group and the control group (P=1.00), and rates of death were 18.4% and 15.5%, respectively (P=0.60). Registry data indicated that only eight patients who met the eligibility criteria were treated outside the trial at participating hospitals. Conclusions Among patients with anterior circulation stroke who could be treated within 8 hours after symptom onset, stent retriever thrombectomy reduced the severity of post-stroke disability and increased the rate of functional independence. (Funded by Fundació Ictus Malaltia Vascular through an unrestricted grant from Covidien and others; REVASCAT number, NCT01692379 .).

Concepts: Stroke, Intracranial pressure, Modified Rankin Scale, Odds ratio, Ischemia, The Trial, Disability, Barthel scale


Background In patients with acute ischemic stroke caused by a proximal intracranial arterial occlusion, intraarterial treatment is highly effective for emergency revascularization. However, proof of a beneficial effect on functional outcome is lacking. Methods We randomly assigned eligible patients to either intraarterial treatment plus usual care or usual care alone. Eligible patients had a proximal arterial occlusion in the anterior cerebral circulation that was confirmed on vessel imaging and that could be treated intraarterially within 6 hours after symptom onset. The primary outcome was the modified Rankin scale score at 90 days; this categorical scale measures functional outcome, with scores ranging from 0 (no symptoms) to 6 (death). The treatment effect was estimated with ordinal logistic regression as a common odds ratio, adjusted for prespecified prognostic factors. The adjusted common odds ratio measured the likelihood that intraarterial treatment would lead to lower modified Rankin scores, as compared with usual care alone (shift analysis). Results We enrolled 500 patients at 16 medical centers in the Netherlands (233 assigned to intraarterial treatment and 267 to usual care alone). The mean age was 65 years (range, 23 to 96), and 445 patients (89.0%) were treated with intravenous alteplase before randomization. Retrievable stents were used in 190 of the 233 patients (81.5%) assigned to intraarterial treatment. The adjusted common odds ratio was 1.67 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.21 to 2.30). There was an absolute difference of 13.5 percentage points (95% CI, 5.9 to 21.2) in the rate of functional independence (modified Rankin score, 0 to 2) in favor of the intervention (32.6% vs. 19.1%). There were no significant differences in mortality or the occurrence of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage. Conclusions In patients with acute ischemic stroke caused by a proximal intracranial occlusion of the anterior circulation, intraarterial treatment administered within 6 hours after stroke onset was effective and safe. (Funded by the Dutch Heart Foundation and others; MR CLEAN Netherlands Trial Registry number, NTR1804 , and Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN10888758 .).

Concepts: Stroke, Modified Rankin Scale, Barthel scale


Abstract Purpose: To compare the effects of botulinum toxin injection with and without needle electromyographic guidance for the treatment of spasticity. Method: A randomized controlled study was conducted in a tertiary university hospital. Twenty-seven adult hemiplegic patients with spasticity due to brain or spinal cord damage were included. Spastic muscles were injected with botulinum toxin with or without EMG guidance. The modified Ashworth scale and modified Barthel index in each patient pre- and post-injection were documented. Results: In group A, which consisted of 15 patients (55.55%), the injection was administered with needle electromyographic guidance, while in 12 patients (44.44%) of group B without electromyographic guidance with the use of anatomic landmarks only. The follow-up period was 3 months. At 3 weeks post-injection, spasticity was decreased (p < 0.05) in all patients and the mean (SD) reduction of spasticity was higher (p < 0.05) in group A (1.67 (0.5)) than group B (1.25 (0.46)). Similarly, the mean (SD) functional modified Barthel index improved statistically significantly (p < 0.001) post-injection (45.37 (8.43)) than pre-injection (54.07 (9.610), especially in group A (p < 0.05). Conclusion: The effectiveness of intramuscular botulinum toxin injection for the treatment of spasticity in hemiplegic patients is superior when performed with needle electromyographic guidance than without electromyography. Implications for Rehabilitation It is recommended that botulinum toxin muscle injections of hemiplegic limbs be performed with EMG guidance More spasticity reduction and functional improvement at 3 months post-injection was observed in patients injected with botulinum toxin by the use of combined EMG guidance and anatomic landmarks EMG guidance might also save amount of botulinum toxin due to less spasticity observed during injection than when injection is performed with anatomic landmarks only.

Concepts: Hospital, Randomized controlled trial, Muscle, Electromyography, Barthel scale, Spasticity, Botulinum toxin, Microbial toxins


Objective:To further validate the simplified modified Rankin Scale questionnaire (smRSq), we compare it here to a well-established predictor of functional outcome after stroke, the initial stroke severity.Design:Retrospective correlation analysis.Participants:Forty patients identified from a registry of stroke patients treated with intravenous tissue plasminogen activator.Setting:Community and 17 hospital Emergency Departments within a web-based telestroke network throughout the state of Georgia, USA.Measures:Five certified raters assessed the initial stroke severities with the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) via the telestroke system. Over a 20 month period, one certified rater, unaware of the NIHSS scores, attempted to contact each patient in the registry to assess their functional outcomes with the smRSq via telephone. We analyzed patients who had the smRSq assessment at least three months after stroke.Results:Forty of 120 registered patients were contacted and qualified for this study. The baseline clinical characteristics of the 40 analyzed and the 80 disqualified patients were similar. The correlation between the initial NIHSS and the smRSq was good (r = 0.69, R(2) = 0.47, P < 0.001).Conclusions:The good correlation of the smRSq with the initial stroke severity further confirms the smRSq validity in assessing functional outcome after stroke.

Concepts: Hospital, Stroke, Modified Rankin Scale, Assessment, Tissue plasminogen activator, Barthel scale


BACKGROUND: Nontraumatic impaired consciousness is a common issue in emergency departments with a serious but widely variable prognosis. STUDY OBJECTIVES: The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate the ability of systematic combined noncontrast computed tomography (NCCT)/computed tomography angiography (CTA) imaging, firstly to provide a neurologic prognosis and secondly to ensure early detection of basilar artery occlusion (BAO), in unexplained nontraumatic impaired consciousness management. METHODS: Combined NCCT/CTA imaging was performed on 65 patients with impaired consciousness and no history of trauma prospectively over 14 months in a single center. Images were assessed based on visual and quantitative criteria. Clinical outcome was assessed using the modified Rankin Scale at 3 months. Statistical analysis aimed to identify the prognostic value of combined NCCT/CTA imaging and its ability for early BAO detection. RESULTS: This study shows that combined NCCT/CTA imaging was a significant predictor of poor neurological outcome, with a positive predictive value of 94.6%. The combination was also crucial for early detection of BAO, given that 42.8% of cases were misdiagnosed with NCCT alone. Basilar artery occlusion represented 10.8% of all unexplained nontraumatic impaired consciousness. CONCLUSIONS: Systematic combined NCCT/CTA imaging is an efficient tool for predicting poor neurologic prognosis in cases of unexplained nontraumatic impaired consciousness and is also essential for detecting BAO.

Concepts: Hospital, Medical imaging, Modified Rankin Scale, Neurology, Prognosis, Disability, Thought experiment, Barthel scale