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Overview of systematic reviews comparing endovascular to best medical treatment for large-vessel occlusion acute ischaemic stroke: an umbrella review.

BACKGROUND: The literature on endovascular treatment (EVT) for large-vessel occlusion (LVO) acute ischaemic stroke (AIS) has been rapidly increasing after the publication of positive randomized-controlled clinical trials (RCTs) and a plethora of systematic reviews (SRs) showing benefit compared to best medical therapy (BMT) for LVO.

OBJECTIVES: An overview of SRs (umbrella review) and meta-analysis of primary RCTs were performed to summarize the literature and present efficacy and safety of EVT.

DESIGN AND METHODS: MEDLINE via Pubmed, Embase and Epistemonikos databases were searched from January 2015 until 15 October 2023. All SRs of RCTs comparing EVT to BMT were included. Quality was assessed using Risk of Bias in Systematic Reviews scores and the RoB 2 Cochrane Collaboration tool, as appropriate. GRADE approach was used to evaluate the strength of evidence. Data were presented according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Overviews of Reviews statement. The primary outcome was 3-month good functional outcome [modified Rankin scale (mRS) score 0-2].

RESULTS: Three eligible SRs and 4 additional RCTs were included in the overview, comprising a total of 24 RCTs, corresponding to 5968 AIS patients with LVO (3044 randomized to EVT versus 2924 patients randomized to BMT). High-quality evidence shows that EVT is associated with an increased likelihood of good functional outcome [risk ratio (RR) 1.78 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.54-2.06); 166 more per 1000 patients], independent ambulation [mRS-scores 0-3; RR 1.50 (95% CI: 1.37-1.64); 174 more per 1000 patients], excellent functional outcome [mRS-scores 0-1; RR 1.90 (95% CI: 1.62-2.22); 118 more per 1000 patients] at 3 months. EVT was associated with reduced 3-month mortality [RR 0.81 (95% CI: 0.74-0.88); 61 less per 1000 patients] despite an increase in symptomatic intracranial haemorrhage [sICH; RR 1.65 (95% CI: 1.23-2.21); 22 more per 1000 patients].

CONCLUSION: In patients with AIS due to LVO in the anterior or posterior circulation, within 24 h from symptom onset, EVT improves functional outcomes and increases the chance of survival despite increased sICH risk.

REGISTRATION: PROSPERO Registration Number CRD42023461138.

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