Relevance of blood-brain barrier disruption after endovascular treatment of ischemic stroke: dual-energy computed tomographic study

Arturo Renú, Sergio Amaro, Carlos Laredo, Luis San Román, Laura Llull, Antonio Lopez, Xabier Urra, Jordi Blasco, Laura Oleaga, Ángel Chamorro
Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation 2015, 46 (3): 673-9

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Computed tomographic (CT) high attenuation (HA) areas after endovascular therapy for acute ischemic stroke are a common finding indicative of blood-brain barrier disruption. Dual-energy CT allows an accurate differentiation between HA areas related to contrast staining (CS) or to brain hemorrhage (BH). We sought to evaluate the prognostic significance of the presence of CS and BH after endovascular therapy.

METHODS: A prospective cohort of 132 patients treated with endovascular therapy was analyzed. According to dual-energy CT findings, patients were classified into 3 groups: no HA areas (n=53), CS (n=32), and BH (n=47). The rate of new hemorrhagic transformations was recorded at follow-up neuroimaging. Clinical outcome was evaluated at 90 days with the modified Rankin Scale (poor outcome, 3-6).

RESULTS: Poor outcome was associated with the presence of CS (odds ratio [OR], 11.3; 95% confidence interval, 3.34-38.95) and BH (OR, 10.4; 95% confidence interval, 3.42-31.68). The rate of poor outcome despite complete recanalization was also significantly higher in CS (OR, 9.7; 95% confidence interval, 2.55-37.18) and BH (OR, 15.1; 95% confidence interval, 3.85-59.35) groups, compared with the no-HA group. Patients with CS disclosed a higher incidence of delayed hemorrhagic transformation at follow-up (OR, 4.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.22-16.37) compared with no-HA patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Blood-brain barrier disruption, defined as CS and BH on dual-energy CT, was associated with poor clinical outcomes in patients with stroke treated with endovascular therapies. Moreover, isolated CS was associated with delayed hemorrhagic transformation. These results support the clinical relevance of blood-brain barrier disruption in acute stroke.

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