JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY

Aggressive therapy with intravenous abciximab and intra-arterial rtPA and additional PTA/stenting improves clinical outcome in acute vertebrobasilar occlusion: combined local fibrinolysis and intravenous abciximab in acute vertebrobasilar stroke treatment (FAST): results of a multicenter study

Bernd Eckert, Christoph Koch, Götz Thomalla, Thomas Kucinski, Ulrich Grzyska, Joachim Roether, Karsten Alfke, Olav Jansen, Herrmann Zeumer
Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation 2005, 36 (6): 1160-5
15890988

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: A combined therapy of local recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA) fibrinolysis and intravenous Abciximab platelet inhibition with additional percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA)/stenting may improve recanalization and neurological outcome in patients with acute vertebrobasilar occlusion.

METHODS: Combined FAST therapy consisted on intravenous bolus of Abciximab (0.25 mg/kg) followed by a 12-hour infusion therapy (0.125 microg/kg per minute) and low-dose intra-arterial rtPA (median dosage: 20 mg, FAST cohort: N=47). The results were compared with a retrospective cohort, treated by intraarterial rtPA monotherapy (median dosage: 40 mg, rtPA cohort, N=41). Additional PTA/stenting was performed in case of severe residual stenosis. Recanalization success was classified according to the Trials in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) criteria: TIMI0/1, failed recanalization; TIMI2/3, successful recanalization. Bleeding complications were evaluated according to severe extracerebral hemorrhage (ECH), asymptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (AIH), and symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (SIH).

RESULTS: Overall bleeding rate was higher under the combined therapy, but the SIH rate did not differ (FAST versus rtPA: ECH, 3% versus 0%; AIH, 32% versus 22%; SIH 13% versus 12%). Additional PTA/stenting was performed in 14 (FAST) versus 5 (rtPA) patients. TIMI2/3 recanalization rate was similar (FAST, 72%; rtPA, 68%), but TIMI3 rate was remarkably higher under combined therapy (FAST, 45%; rtPA, N=22%). Neurologic outcome appeared better under combined therapy (FAST versus rtPA: favorable outcome rate: 34% versus 17%) with a significantly lower mortality rate (FAST versus rtPA: 38% versus 68%; P=0.006). These results were consistent for embolic and atherothrombotic occlusions.

CONCLUSIONS: Combined therapy of intravenous Abciximab and half dose intra-arterial rtPA with additional PTA/stenting appears to improve neurologic outcome in acute vertebrobasilar occlusion despite an increase of overall bleeding complications.

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