Effects of Extending the Time Window of Thrombolysis to 4.5 Hours
Observations in the Swedish Stroke Register (Riks-Stroke)
Background and Purpose—The European Cooperative Acute Stroke Study (ECASS) III trial and Safe Implementation of Thrombolysis in Stroke–International Stroke Thrombolysis Register (SITS-ISTR) data were published in 2008. Riks-Stroke, the Swedish Stroke Register, was used to explore how thrombolysis in the 3- to 4.5-hour window has been spread in different hospitals and patient groups and what effects this has had on treatment within 3 hours.
Methods—All 76 hospitals in Sweden admitting patients with acute stroke participate in Riks-Stroke. During the study period, January 2003 to June 2010, 92 150 18- to 80-year-old patients were hospitalized for acute ischemic stroke.
Results—After the publication of the ECASS III results in the third quarter of 2008, thrombolysis in the 3- to 4.5-hour window increased from 0.5% before publication to 2.1% in 2010. Thrombolysis in the 3- to 4.5-hour window spread somewhat faster in men than women (P=0.04) but at a similar rate in different age groups. The use of thrombolysis within 3 hours after onset of symptoms increased successively from 0.9% in 2003 to 6.6% in late 2008 and then it stabilized at 6%. The median time from arrival to the hospital to start of treatment remained unchanged at 66 to 69 minutes before and after 2008 (P=0.06).
Conclusions—Since the end of 2008, there has been a rapid nationwide dissemination of thrombolysis in the 3- to 4.5-hour window, whereas rates in the <3-hour window have leveled off. The extended time window has not affected door-to-needle time.
- Received February 23, 2011.
- Revision received March 28, 2011.
- Accepted March 29, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.