Sonographic evaluation of hemorrhagic transformation and arterial recanalization in acute hemispheric ischemic stroke

Günter Seidel, Hakan Cangür, Thomas Albers, Anna Burgemeister, Karsten Meyer-Wiethe
Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation 2009, 40 (1): 119-23

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: We conducted this prospective study to evaluate the time course of hemorrhagic transformation (HT) and arterial recanalization in the early phase of ischemic stroke using transcranial sonography (TCS).

METHODS: Fifty-five patients with acute ischemic hemispheric stroke <32 hours after symptom onset were studied. A 2-MHz sector probe was used to evaluate brain tissue by TCS and basal cerebral arteries by transcranial color-coded sonography. Follow-up investigations were performed up to 6 days. Lesion size and localization were determined by cranial computed tomography.

RESULTS: Of 20 patients with HT, 18 displayed by computed tomography could be identified by TCS. In 1 patient, TCS provided a wrong positive result, and in another 2 patients with small cortical HT, a wrong negative result was provided (sensitivity 90.0%, specificity 97.4%). HT was detected in the first 60 hours after symptom onset in 62.5% of patients treated with tissue plasminogen activator in comparison to 33.3% without thrombolysis. Recanalization of middle cerebral artery occurred earlier in tissue plasminogen activator-treated patients compared to those without tissue plasminogen activator treatment (in the first 60 hours after symptom onset: 78.5% vs 50.0%, respectively; P=0.34). There was a significant time difference between middle cerebral artery recanalization and HT occurrence (n=13, median time interval: 20 vs 60 hours; P=0.035).

CONCLUSIONS: Transcranial ultrasound is a useful bedside method to depict and closely monitor HT in patients with acute hemispheric stroke. The strong influence of tissue plasminogen activator treatment on HT could be demonstrated. HT development is dependent on the time of artery recanalization.

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