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Concept: Thrombolysis


Background In patients with ischemic stroke, endovascular treatment results in a higher rate of recanalization of the affected cerebral artery than systemic intravenous thrombolytic therapy. However, comparison of the clinical efficacy of the two approaches is needed. Methods We randomly assigned 362 patients with acute ischemic stroke, within 4.5 hours after onset, to endovascular therapy (intraarterial thrombolysis with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator [t-PA], mechanical clot disruption or retrieval, or a combination of these approaches) or intravenous t-PA. Treatments were to be given as soon as possible after randomization. The primary outcome was survival free of disability (defined as a modified Rankin score of 0 or 1 on a scale of 0 to 6, with 0 indicating no symptoms, 1 no clinically significant disability despite symptoms, and 6 death) at 3 months. Results A total of 181 patients were assigned to receive endovascular therapy, and 181 intravenous t-PA. The median time from stroke onset to the start of treatment was 3.75 hours for endovascular therapy and 2.75 hours for intravenous t-PA (P<0.001). At 3 months, 55 patients in the endovascular-therapy group (30.4%) and 63 in the intravenous t-PA group (34.8%) were alive without disability (odds ratio adjusted for age, sex, stroke severity, and atrial fibrillation status at baseline, 0.71; 95% confidence interval, 0.44 to 1.14; P=0.16). Fatal or nonfatal symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage within 7 days occurred in 6% of the patients in each group, and there were no significant differences between groups in the rates of other serious adverse events or the case fatality rate. Conclusions The results of this trial in patients with acute ischemic stroke indicate that endovascular therapy is not superior to standard treatment with intravenous t-PA. (Funded by the Italian Medicines Agency, number, NCT00640367 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Myocardial infarction, Stroke, Atrial fibrillation, Pulmonary embolism, Tissue plasminogen activator, Thrombolysis, Plasmin


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


Intravenous thrombolysis with tissue plasminogen activator is standard treatment in acute stroke today. The benefit of endovascular treatment has been questioned. Recently, studies evaluating endovascular treatment and intravenous thrombolysis compared with intravenous thrombolysis alone, have reported improved outcome for the intervention group. The aim of this study was to perform a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing endovascular treatment in addition to intravenous thrombolysis with intravenous thrombolysis alone.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Randomized controlled trial, Stroke, Thrombosis, Pulmonary embolism, Tissue plasminogen activator, Thrombolysis, Plasmin


We aimed to develop a tool, the hemorrhagic transformation (HT) index (HTI), to predict any HT within 14 days after middle cerebral artery (MCA) stroke onset regardless of the intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (IV rtPA) use. That is especially important in the light of missing evidence-based data concerning the timing of anticoagulant resumption after stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF).

Concepts: Blood, Stroke, Atrial fibrillation, Transient ischemic attack, Middle cerebral artery, Tissue plasminogen activator, Thrombolysis, Plasmin


Background Among patients with acute ischemic stroke due to occlusions in the proximal anterior intracranial circulation, less than 40% regain functional independence when treated with intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) alone. Thrombectomy with the use of a stent retriever, in addition to intravenous t-PA, increases reperfusion rates and may improve long-term functional outcome. Methods We randomly assigned eligible patients with stroke who were receiving or had received intravenous t-PA to continue with t-PA alone (control group) or to undergo endovascular thrombectomy with the use of a stent retriever within 6 hours after symptom onset (intervention group). Patients had confirmed occlusions in the proximal anterior intracranial circulation and an absence of large ischemic-core lesions. The primary outcome was the severity of global disability at 90 days, as assessed by means of the modified Rankin scale (with scores ranging from 0 [no symptoms] to 6 [death]). Results The study was stopped early because of efficacy. At 39 centers, 196 patients underwent randomization (98 patients in each group). In the intervention group, the median time from qualifying imaging to groin puncture was 57 minutes, and the rate of substantial reperfusion at the end of the procedure was 88%. Thrombectomy with the stent retriever plus intravenous t-PA reduced disability at 90 days over the entire range of scores on the modified Rankin scale (P<0.001). The rate of functional independence (modified Rankin scale score, 0 to 2) was higher in the intervention group than in the control group (60% vs. 35%, P<0.001). There were no significant between-group differences in 90-day mortality (9% vs. 12%, P=0.50) or symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (0% vs. 3%, P=0.12). Conclusions In patients receiving intravenous t-PA for acute ischemic stroke due to occlusions in the proximal anterior intracranial circulation, thrombectomy with a stent retriever within 6 hours after onset improved functional outcomes at 90 days. (Funded by Covidien; SWIFT PRIME number, NCT01657461 .).

Concepts: Stroke, Modified Rankin Scale, Disability, Tissue plasminogen activator, Thrombolysis, Plasmin


Background The postpartum state is associated with a substantially increased risk of thrombosis. It is uncertain to what extent this heightened risk persists beyond the conventionally defined 6-week postpartum period. Methods Using claims data on all discharges from nonfederal emergency departments and acute care hospitals in California, we identified women who were hospitalized for labor and delivery between January 1, 2005, and June 30, 2010. We used validated diagnosis codes to identify a composite primary outcome of ischemic stroke, acute myocardial infarction, or venous thromboembolism. We then used conditional logistic regression to assess each patient’s likelihood of a first thrombotic event during sequential 6-week periods after delivery, as compared with the corresponding 6-week period 1 year later. Results Among the 1,687,930 women with a first recorded delivery, 1015 had a thrombotic event (248 cases of stroke, 47 cases of myocardial infarction, and 720 cases of venous thromboembolism) in the period of 1 year plus up to 24 weeks after delivery. The risk of primary thrombotic events was markedly higher within 6 weeks after delivery than in the same period 1 year later, with 411 events versus 38 events, for an absolute risk difference of 22.1 events (95% confidence interval [CI], 19.6 to 24.6) per 100,000 deliveries and an odds ratio of 10.8 (95% CI, 7.8 to 15.1). There was also a modest but significant increase in risk during the period of 7 to 12 weeks after delivery as compared with the same period 1 year later, with 95 versus 44 events, for an absolute risk difference of 3.0 events (95% CI, 1.6 to 4.5) per 100,000 deliveries and an odds ratio of 2.2 (95% CI, 1.5 to 3.1). Risks of thrombotic events were not significantly increased beyond the first 12 weeks after delivery. Conclusions Among patients in our study, an elevated risk of thrombosis persisted until at least 12 weeks after delivery. However, the absolute increase in risk beyond 6 weeks after delivery was low. (Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.).

Concepts: Childbirth, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Hypertension, Stroke, Thrombosis, Anticoagulant, Thrombolysis


Endovascular or intra-arterial treatment (IAT) increases the likelihood of recanalization in patients with acute ischemic stroke caused by a proximal intracranial arterial occlusion. However, a beneficial effect of IAT on functional recovery in patients with acute ischemic stroke remains unproven. The aim of this study is to assess the effect of IAT on functional outcome in patients with acute ischemic stroke. Additionally, we aim to assess the safety of IAT, and the effect on recanalization of different mechanical treatment modalities.Methods/design: A multicenter randomized clinical trial with blinded outcome assessment. The active comparison is IAT versus no IAT. IAT may consist of intra-arterial thrombolysis with alteplase or urokinase, mechanical treatment or both. Mechanical treatment refers to retraction, aspiration, sonolysis, or use of a retrievable stent (stent-retriever). Patients with a relevant intracranial proximal arterial occlusion of the anterior circulation, who can be treated within 6 hours after stroke onset, are eligible. Treatment effect will be estimated with ordinal logistic regression (shift analysis); 500 patients will be included in the trial for a power of 80% to detect a shift leading to a decrease in dependency in 10% of treated patients. The primary outcome is the score on the modified Rankin scale at 90 days. Secondary outcomes are the National Institutes of Health stroke scale score at 24 hours, vessel patency at 24 hours, infarct size on day 5, and the occurrence of major bleeding during the first 5 days.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Randomized controlled trial, Stroke, Modified Rankin Scale, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical research, Thrombolysis


Intravenous thrombolysis remains the mainstay treatment for acute ischemic stroke. One of the most feared complications of the treatment is thrombolysis-related symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH), which occurs in nearly 6% of patients and carries close to 50% mortality. The treatment options for sICH are based on small case series and expert opinion, and the efficacy of recommended treatments is not well known.

Concepts: Stroke, Thrombosis, Pulmonary embolism, Cerebral hemorrhage, Tissue plasminogen activator, Thrombolysis, Plasmin


BACKGROUND: Lacunar infarcts constitute up to 25% of all ischaemic strokes. As acute intracranial vascular imaging has become widely available with computed tomographic angiography, thrombolysis of lacunar strokes has become contentious because an intracranial vascular lesion cannot be visualized. We studied the effect of thrombolysis on lacunar strokes compared to other clinical ischaemic stroke sub-types. METHODS: Ischaemic stroke patients from phase 3 of the Registry of the Canadian Stroke Network data (July 2003-March 2008) were included. Lacunar stroke was defined as a lacunar syndrome supported by computed tomography brain showing a subcortical hypodense lesion with a diameter <20 mm. Clinical syndromes were used to define other stroke sub-types. The outcomes were mortality at 90 days, modified Rankin Scale score 0-2 at discharge, occurrence of intracranial haemorrhage as a complication of stroke in-hospital, and discharge disposition to home. RESULTS: A total of 11 503 patients of ischaemic stroke were included from the Registry of the Canadian Stroke Network 3 between July 2003 and March 2008. Lacunar strokes formed 19·1% of the total strokes. The total number of patients who received tissue plasminogen activator was 1630 (14·2%). A significant association was found between tissue plasminogen activator treatment and outcomes after controlling Oxfordshire Community Stroke Project types - for modified Rankin Scale at discharge and discharge to home, but not for mortality. A thrombolysis-by-Oxfordshire Community Stroke Project stroke sub-type interaction was observed due to lack of benefit among the posterior circulation stroke sub-types. Patients with lacunar strokes, partial anterior circulation stroke, and total anterior circulation strokes all benefited approximately equally from thrombolysis. CONCLUSIONS: Thrombolysis is associated with clinically improved outcome among patients with lacunar stroke syndromes.

Concepts: Blood, Stroke, Pulmonary embolism, Modified Rankin Scale, Tissue plasminogen activator, Thrombolysis, Plasmin, Lacunar stroke


BACKGROUND Recanalization of occluded intracranial arteries remains the aim of intravenous (IV) tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) therapy in acute ischemic stroke (AIS). OBJECTIVE To examine the timing and impact of recanalization on functional outcomes in AIS. DESIGN A longitudinal cohort of consecutive IV tPA-treated patients with AIS from January 2007 through December 2010. Data were collected for demography, risk factors, stroke subtypes, blood pressure, and National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale scores. Early recanalization (ER) was identified by transcranial Doppler monitoring during the first 2 hours of treatment. Recanalization was reevaluated at 24 hours by computed tomographic angiography (CTA). Patients with ER and patent index artery at 24 hours on CTA were labeled as having persistent recanalization (PR). Recanalization at 24 hours on CTA regardless of transcranial Doppler status was labeled as CTR. Favorable outcome was defined as a modified Rankin Scale score of 0 to 1 at 3 months. SETTING University hospital stroke center. PATIENTS A total of 240 patients with AIS who underwent IV tPA treatment. RESULTS Of 2238 patients with AIS, 240 (11%) received IV tPA. The median age was 65 years (range, 19-92 years) and 44% of the study group was male. The median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score was 17 (range, 3-35) and the median onset-to-treatment time was 149 minutes (range, 46-270 minutes). Of the 240 patients, 122 (50.8%) achieved favorable outcomes at 3 months. Data for ER, PR, and CTR were analyzed for 160 patients. Early recanalization was seen in 82 patients (51.3%); 67 cases (81.7%) had PR and 84 cases (52.5%) had CTR. National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score at onset (odds ratio per 1-point increase, 0.938; 95% CI, 0.888-0.991), ER (odds ratio, 3.048; 95% CI, 1.537-6.046), PR (odds ratio, 5.449; 95% CI, 2.382-12.464), and CTR (odds ratio, 4.329; 95% CI, 2.131-8.794) were independent predictors of favorable outcomes. CONCLUSIONS Intravenous tPA-induced arterial recanalization within the first 24 hours in AIS is a strong predictor of favorable outcomes at 3 months.

Concepts: Blood, Atherosclerosis, Stroke, Blood pressure, Modified Rankin Scale, Artery, Tissue plasminogen activator, Thrombolysis