Low rates of acute recanalization with intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator in ischemic stroke: real-world experience and a call for action

Rohit Bhatia, Michael D Hill, Nandavar Shobha, Bijoy Menon, Simerpreet Bal, Puneet Kochar, Tim Watson, Mayank Goyal, Andrew M Demchuk
Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation 2010, 41 (10): 2254-8

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Acute rates of recanalization after intravenous (IV) recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) in proximal vessel occlusion have been estimated sparingly, typically using transcranial Doppler (TCD). We aimed to study acute recanalization rates of IV rt-PA in CT angiogram-proven proximal (internal carotid artery [ICA], M1 middle cerebral artery [MCA], M2-MCA, and basilar artery) occlusions and their effects on outcome.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The CT angiogram database of the Calgary stroke program was reviewed for the period 2002 to 2009. All patients with proximal vessel occlusions receiving IV rt-PA who were assessed for recanalization by TCD or angiogram (for acute endovascular treatment) were included for analysis. Rates of acute recanalization as observed on TCD/first run of angiogram and postendovascular therapy recanalization rates were noted. Modified Rankin Scale score ≤2 at 3 months was used as a good outcome.

RESULTS: Among 1341 patients in the CT angiogram database, 388 patients with proximal occlusion were identified. Of these, 216 patients had received IV rt-PA; 127 patients underwent further imaging to assess recanalization. Among the patients undergoing TCD (n=46) and cerebral angiogram (n=103), only 27 (21.25%) patients had acute recanalization. By occlusion subtype, the rates of recanalization were: distal ICA (with or without ICA neck occlusion or stenotic disease) 1 of 24 (4.4%); M1-MCA (with or without ICA neck occlusion or stenotic disease) 21 of 65 (32.3%); M2-MCA 4 of 13 (30.8%); and basilar artery 1 of 25 (4%). Onset to rt-PA time was comparable in patients with and without recanalization. Recanalization (P<0.0001; risk ratio, 2.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.5-4.6) was the strongest predictor of outcome (adjusted for age and National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score).

CONCLUSIONS: A low rate of acute recanalization was observed with IV rt-PA in proximal vessel occlusions identified by baseline CT angiogram. Recanalization was the strongest predictor of good outcome.

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