[Intravenous tissue-type plasminogen activator for the treatment of acute cerebral ischemia]

Antoni Dávalos, José Alvarez-Sabín, Josep Lluís Martí-Vilalta, José Castillo
Medicina Clínica 2003 January 18, 120 (1): 1-5

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Whether the risk of symptomatic hemorrhagic transformation (SHT) of cerebral infarction associated with the use of tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) is higher in clinical practice than in clinical trials is unknown. The aim of this study was to analyze the safety profile and clinical outcome of patients with acute cerebral ischemia who received open treatment with t-PA in Spanish hospitals.

PATIENTS AND METHOD: This prospective and observational study included 155 consecutive patients with an ischemic stroke treated within 3 hours from the onset of symptoms, or within 6 hours in the absence of early signs of large cerebral infarction on CT. Intravenous t-PA was administered at 0.9 mg/kg (10% as bolus) during a 60 minutes infusion. Neurological worsening within 24-36 hours was evaluated by the NIH stroke scale (NIHSS). Primary safety and outcome variables were SHT on CT performed at 24-36 hours, mortality and independence at 90 days. Patients were treated by neurologists with expertise in acute stroke, and stroke monitoring was performed in acute stroke units.

RESULTS: Baseline median NIHSS was 16, and mean time from stroke onset to treatment was 163 minutes. SHT was found in 12 patients (7.7%; 95% CI, 4.0-13.1), and it was fatal in 7 (4.5%, 95% CI, 1.8-9.1). Overall mortality at 90 days was 16.8% (95% CI, 11.2-23.6). At 24 hours, 48% (95% CI, 39.7-55.9) of patients had improved >= 4 points in the NIHSS, and 29% (95 % CI, 22.0-36.8) showed a >= 10 points improvement or total recovery. At 3 months, 56% (95% CI, 47.9-64.1) of patients were independent.

CONCLUSIONS: In Spanish hospitals with stroke units or stroke teams, the use in the clinical practice of intravenous t-PA by experienced neurologists is safe, and it is associated with a favourable outcome similar to that observed in clinical trials.


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