Thrombolysis in Patients With Mild Stroke
Results From the Austrian Stroke Unit Registry
Background and Purpose—Apart from missing the approved time window of 4.5 hours, one frequent cause for withholding recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) treatment in patients with ischemic stroke is presentation with mild deficit on admission. We analyzed in a large cohort of patients whether rt-PA treatment is beneficial for this group of patients.
Methods—From a total of 54 917 patients with ischemic stroke prospectively enrolled in the Austrian Stroke Unit Registry, 890 patients with mild deficit defined as ≤5 points in the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale treated with and without rt-PA were matched for age, sex, prestroke disability, stroke severity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hypercholesterolemia, stroke cause, and clinical stroke syndrome. Functional outcome was assessed using the modified Rankin Scale at 3 months. For data visualization, weighted averages of outcome differences were computed for all age severity combinations and mapped to a color. For quantification of effect sizes, numbers need to treat were calculated.
Results—rt-PA–treated patients with mild deficit had a better outcome after 3 months compared with matched cases without rt-PA treatment (odds ratio [OR], 1.49; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.17–1.89; P<0.001). In rt-PA–treated patients with mild deficit, the numbers need to treat ranged from 8 to 14. Improvement achieved by rt-PA treatment was observed along the entire age range.
Conclusions—In our study, intravenous rt-PA treatment was beneficial for patients with mild deficit. Given the observational nature of these results, our data might serve as an incentive for future randomized controlled trials to provide a basis for optimal patient selection.
- Received October 11, 2013.
- Revision received December 18, 2013.
- Accepted December 24, 2013.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.