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Concept: Modified Rankin Scale

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Background Thrombectomy is currently recommended for eligible patients with stroke who are treated within 6 hours after the onset of symptoms. Methods We conducted a multicenter, randomized, open-label trial, with blinded outcome assessment, of thrombectomy in patients 6 to 16 hours after they were last known to be well and who had remaining ischemic brain tissue that was not yet infarcted. Patients with proximal middle-cerebral-artery or internal-carotid-artery occlusion, an initial infarct size of less than 70 ml, and a ratio of the volume of ischemic tissue on perfusion imaging to infarct volume of 1.8 or more were randomly assigned to endovascular therapy (thrombectomy) plus standard medical therapy (endovascular-therapy group) or standard medical therapy alone (medical-therapy group). The primary outcome was the ordinal score on the modified Rankin scale (range, 0 to 6, with higher scores indicating greater disability) at day 90. Results The trial was conducted at 38 U.S. centers and terminated early for efficacy after 182 patients had undergone randomization (92 to the endovascular-therapy group and 90 to the medical-therapy group). Endovascular therapy plus medical therapy, as compared with medical therapy alone, was associated with a favorable shift in the distribution of functional outcomes on the modified Rankin scale at 90 days (odds ratio, 2.77; P<0.001) and a higher percentage of patients who were functionally independent, defined as a score on the modified Rankin scale of 0 to 2 (45% vs. 17%, P<0.001). The 90-day mortality rate was 14% in the endovascular-therapy group and 26% in the medical-therapy group (P=0.05), and there was no significant between-group difference in the frequency of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (7% and 4%, respectively; P=0.75) or of serious adverse events (43% and 53%, respectively; P=0.18). Conclusions Endovascular thrombectomy for ischemic stroke 6 to 16 hours after a patient was last known to be well plus standard medical therapy resulted in better functional outcomes than standard medical therapy alone among patients with proximal middle-cerebral-artery or internal-carotid-artery occlusion and a region of tissue that was ischemic but not yet infarcted. (Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; DEFUSE 3 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02586415 .).

Concepts: Medicine, Blood, Stroke, Therapy, Modified Rankin Scale, Ischemia, Randomness, Disability

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Background The effect of endovascular thrombectomy that is performed more than 6 hours after the onset of ischemic stroke is uncertain. Patients with a clinical deficit that is disproportionately severe relative to the infarct volume may benefit from late thrombectomy. Methods We enrolled patients with occlusion of the intracranial internal carotid artery or proximal middle cerebral artery who had last been known to be well 6 to 24 hours earlier and who had a mismatch between the severity of the clinical deficit and the infarct volume, with mismatch criteria defined according to age (<80 years or ≥80 years). Patients were randomly assigned to thrombectomy plus standard care (the thrombectomy group) or to standard care alone (the control group). The coprimary end points were the mean score for disability on the utility-weighted modified Rankin scale (which ranges from 0 [death] to 10 [no symptoms or disability]) and the rate of functional independence (a score of 0, 1, or 2 on the modified Rankin scale, which ranges from 0 to 6, with higher scores indicating more severe disability) at 90 days. Results A total of 206 patients were enrolled; 107 were assigned to the thrombectomy group and 99 to the control group. At 31 months, enrollment in the trial was stopped because of the results of a prespecified interim analysis. The mean score on the utility-weighted modified Rankin scale at 90 days was 5.5 in the thrombectomy group as compared with 3.4 in the control group (adjusted difference [Bayesian analysis], 2.0 points; 95% credible interval, 1.1 to 3.0; posterior probability of superiority, >0.999), and the rate of functional independence at 90 days was 49% in the thrombectomy group as compared with 13% in the control group (adjusted difference, 33 percentage points; 95% credible interval, 24 to 44; posterior probability of superiority, >0.999). The rate of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage did not differ significantly between the two groups (6% in the thrombectomy group and 3% in the control group, P=0.50), nor did 90-day mortality (19% and 18%, respectively; P=1.00). Conclusions Among patients with acute stroke who had last been known to be well 6 to 24 hours earlier and who had a mismatch between clinical deficit and infarct, outcomes for disability at 90 days were better with thrombectomy plus standard care than with standard care alone. (Funded by Stryker Neurovascular; DAWN ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02142283 .).

Concepts: Stroke, Modified Rankin Scale, Middle cerebral artery, Internal carotid artery, Common carotid artery, Anterior cerebral artery, Posterior communicating artery, Disability

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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 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01020916 .).

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

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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 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01778335 .).

Concepts: Stroke, Modified Rankin Scale, Barthel scale

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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 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00716079 .).

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

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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; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00359424 .).

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

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Background Whether brain imaging can identify patients who are most likely to benefit from therapies for acute ischemic stroke and whether endovascular thrombectomy improves clinical outcomes in such patients remains unclear. Methods In this study, we randomly assigned patients within 8 hours after the onset of large-vessel, anterior-circulation strokes to undergo mechanical embolectomy (Merci Retriever or Penumbra System) or receive standard care. All patients underwent pretreatment computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging of the brain. Randomization was stratified according to whether the patient had a favorable penumbral pattern (substantial salvageable tissue and small infarct core) or a nonpenumbral pattern (large core or small or absent penumbra). We assessed outcomes using the 90-day modified Rankin scale, ranging from 0 (no symptoms) to 6 (dead). Results Among 118 eligible patients, the mean age was 65.5 years, the mean time to enrollment was 5.5 hours, and 58% had a favorable penumbral pattern. Revascularization in the embolectomy group was achieved in 67% of the patients. Ninety-day mortality was 21%, and the rate of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage was 4%; neither rate differed across groups. Among all patients, mean scores on the modified Rankin scale did not differ between embolectomy and standard care (3.9 vs. 3.9, P=0.99). Embolectomy was not superior to standard care in patients with either a favorable penumbral pattern (mean score, 3.9 vs. 3.4; P=0.23) or a nonpenumbral pattern (mean score, 4.0 vs. 4.4; P=0.32). In the primary analysis of scores on the 90-day modified Rankin scale, there was no interaction between the pretreatment imaging pattern and treatment assignment (P=0.14). Conclusions A favorable penumbral pattern on neuroimaging did not identify patients who would differentially benefit from endovascular therapy for acute ischemic stroke, nor was embolectomy shown to be superior to standard care. (Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; MR RESCUE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00389467 .).

Concepts: Brain, Stroke, Traumatic brain injury, Medical imaging, Magnetic resonance imaging, Modified Rankin Scale, Radiology, Embolism

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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

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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 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01692379 .).

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

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Background Trials of endovascular therapy for ischemic stroke have produced variable results. We conducted this study to test whether more advanced imaging selection, recently developed devices, and earlier intervention improve outcomes. Methods We randomly assigned patients with ischemic stroke who were receiving 0.9 mg of alteplase per kilogram of body weight less than 4.5 hours after the onset of ischemic stroke either to undergo endovascular thrombectomy with the Solitaire FR (Flow Restoration) stent retriever or to continue receiving alteplase alone. All the patients had occlusion of the internal carotid or middle cerebral artery and evidence of salvageable brain tissue and ischemic core of less than 70 ml on computed tomographic (CT) perfusion imaging. The coprimary outcomes were reperfusion at 24 hours and early neurologic improvement (≥8-point reduction on the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale or a score of 0 or 1 at day 3). Secondary outcomes included the functional score on the modified Rankin scale at 90 days. Results The trial was stopped early because of efficacy after 70 patients had undergone randomization (35 patients in each group). The percentage of ischemic territory that had undergone reperfusion at 24 hours was greater in the endovascular-therapy group than in the alteplase-only group (median, 100% vs. 37%; P<0.001). Endovascular therapy, initiated at a median of 210 minutes after the onset of stroke, increased early neurologic improvement at 3 days (80% vs. 37%, P=0.002) and improved the functional outcome at 90 days, with more patients achieving functional independence (score of 0 to 2 on the modified Rankin scale, 71% vs. 40%; P=0.01). There were no significant differences in rates of death or symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage. Conclusions In patients with ischemic stroke with a proximal cerebral arterial occlusion and salvageable tissue on CT perfusion imaging, early thrombectomy with the Solitaire FR stent retriever, as compared with alteplase alone, improved reperfusion, early neurologic recovery, and functional outcome. (Funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and others; EXTEND-IA ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01492725 , and Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry number, ACTRN12611000969965 .).

Concepts: Better, Blood, Stroke, Modified Rankin Scale, Middle cerebral artery, Internal carotid artery, Common carotid artery, Anterior cerebral artery