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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2006 Apr;27(4):769-73.

Intra-arterial reteplase compared to urokinase for thrombolytic recanalization in acute ischemic stroke.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Texas-Houston Medical School, Houston, TX, USA.



Reteplase (RP) and urokinase (UK) are being used "off-label" to treat acute ischemic stroke. The safety and efficacy of intra-arterial RP or UK in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke, however, has yet to be proved. We aim to evaluate the safety and efficacy of RP compared with UK in acute ischemic stroke patients with large vessel occlusion.


Retrospective analysis was conducted of cases from a prospectively collected stroke data base on consecutive acute ischemic stroke patients with large vessel occlusion by digital subtraction angiography treated with intra-arterial RP or UK. Thrombolytic dosage, recanalization rate, intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), mortality, and outcome were determined.


Thirty-three patients received RP and 22 received UK (mean doses, 2.5 +/- 1.4 mg and 690,000 +/- 562,000 U, respectively). Vascular occlusions included 9 basilar arteries (BAs), 7 internal carotid arteries (ICAs), and 17 middle cerebral arteries (MCAs) with RP and 9 BAs, 4 ICAs, and 9 MCAs with UK. Median baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scales were as follows: 16 (range, 5-25; 81% > or = 10) with RP and 17 (range, 6-38; 85% > or =10) with UK. Mean time from symptom onset to thrombolytic initiation: 333 +/- 230 minutes with RP and 343 +/- 169 minutes with UK. Recanalization rates were as follows: 82% with RP and 64% with UK (P = .13). Symptomatic ICH rates were as follows: 12% with RP and 4.5% with UK (P = .50). The mortality rate was 24% with RP and 27% with UK (P = .8).


Although limited in statistical power, our study suggests that, although IA thrombolysis with RP shows a trend for higher recanalization rates and hemorrhage rates, IA thrombolysis with RP is not significantly different in recanalization, outcome, mortality, and ICH compared with that of UK or rates reported with IA pro-UK.

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