Baseline blood pressure but not early computed tomography changes predicts major hemorrhage after streptokinase in acute ischemic stroke

A K Gilligan, R Markus, S Read, V Srikanth, T Hirano, G Fitt, M Arends, B R Chambers, S M Davis, G A Donnan
Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation 2002, 33 (9): 2236-42

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Intracerebral hemorrhage is the most serious complication of thrombolytic therapy for stroke. We explored factors associated with this complication in the Australian Streptokinase Trial.

METHODS: The initial CT scans (< or =4 hours after stroke) of 270 patients were reviewed retrospectively by an expert panel for early signs of ischemia and classified into the following 3 categories: no signs or < or =1/3 or >1/3 of the vascular territory. Hemorrhage on late CT scans was categorized as major or minor on the basis of location and mass effect. Stepwise, backward elimination, multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify risk factors for each hemorrhage category.

RESULTS: Major hemorrhage occurred in 21% of streptokinase (SK) and 4% of placebo patients. Predictors of major hemorrhage were SK treatment (odds ratio [OR], 6.40; 95% CI, 2.50 to 16.36) and elevated systolic blood pressure before therapy (OR, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.05). Baseline systolic blood pressure >165 mm Hg in SK-treated patients resulted in a >25% risk of major secondary hemorrhage. Early ischemic CT changes, either < or =1/3 or >1/3, were not associated with major hemorrhage (OR, 1.58; 95% CI, 0.65 to 3.83; and OR, 1.11; 95% CI, 0.45 to 2.76, respectively). Minor hemorrhage occurred in 30% of the SK and 26% of the placebo group. Predictors of minor hemorrhage were male sex, severe stroke, early CT changes, and SK treatment. Ninety-one percent of patients with major hemorrhage deteriorated clinically compared with 23% with minor hemorrhage.

CONCLUSIONS: SK increased the risk of both minor and major hemorrhage. Major hemorrhage was also more likely in patients with elevated baseline systolic blood pressure. However, early CT changes did not predict major hemorrhage. Results from this study highlight the importance of baseline systolic blood pressure as a potential cause of hemorrhage in patients undergoing thrombolysis.


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