Association of pretreatment ASPECTS scores with tPA-induced arterial recanalization in acute middle cerebral artery occlusion

Georgios Tsivgoulis, Maher Saqqur, Vijay K Sharma, Annabelle Y Lao, Steven L Hoover, Andrei V Alexandrov et al.
Journal of Neuroimaging: Official Journal of the American Society of Neuroimaging 2008, 18 (1): 56-61

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The Alberta Stroke Program Early CT-Score (ASPECTS) assesses early ischemic changes within the middle cerebral artery (MCA) and predicts poor outcome and increased risk for thrombolysis-related symptomatic ICH. We evaluated the potential relationship between pretreatment ASPECTS and tPA-induced recanalization in patients with MCA occlusions.

SUBJECTS & METHODS: Consecutive patients with acute ischemic stroke due to MCA occlusion were treated with standard IV-tPA and assessed with transcranial Doppler (TCD) for arterial recanalization. Early recanalization was determined with previously validated Thrombolysis in Brain Ischemia (TIBI) flow-grading system at 120 minutes after tPA-bolus. All pretreatment CT-scans were prospectively scored by trained investigators blinded to TCD findings. Functional outcome at 3 months was evaluated using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS).

RESULTS: IV-tPA was administered in 192 patients (mean age 68 +/- 14 years, median NIHSS-score 17). Patients with complete recanalization (n= 51) had higher median pretreatment ASPECTS (10, interquartile range 2) than patients with incomplete or absent recanalization (n= 141; median ASPECTS 9, interquartile range 3, P= .034 Mann-Whitney U-test). An ASPECTS < or =6 was documented in 4% and 17% of patients with present and absent recanalization, respectively (P= .019). Pretreatment ASPECTS was associated with complete recanalization (OR per 1-point increase: 1.54; 95% CI 1.06-2.22, P= .023) after adjustment for baseline characteristics, risk factors, NIHSS-score, pretreatment TIBI grades and site of arterial occlusion on baseline TCD. Complete recanalization (OR: 33.97, 95% CI 5.95-185.99, P < .001) and higher ASPECTS (OR per 1-point increase: 1.91; 95% CI 1.17-3.14, P= .010) were independent predictors of good functional outcome (mRS 0-2).

CONCLUSIONS: Higher pretreatment ASPECT-scores are associated with a greater chance of complete recanalization and favorable long-term outcome in tPA-treated patients with acute MCA occlusion.

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