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Stroke. 2000 Dec;31(12):2920-4.

Intravenous tissue plasminogen activator for acute ischemic stroke: A Canadian hospital's experience.

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  • 1Division of Neurology, Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Center, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.



In the United States, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) was approved for treatment of acute ischemic stroke in 1996. Its use has only recently been approved in Canada. We sought to evaluate the safety, feasibility, and efficacy of treatment in a Canadian hospital setting.


A combined retrospective and prospective review is presented of 46 consecutive patients treated with intravenous tPA at our hospital with a treatment protocol similar to that of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) trial.


Symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage at 36 hours occurred in 1 patient (2.2%). The median time to treat was 165 minutes, with a median "door-to-needle" time of 84 minutes. Compared with patients presenting initially at our hospital, patients transferred from another institution for tPA therapy were treated closer to the 3-hour time window (mean 173 versus 148 minutes, P:<0.001) but had a shorter door-to-needle time (43 versus 102 minutes, P:<0.001). For every 10 minutes closer to the 3-hour time window that any patient arrived at the hospital, 7 minutes was saved in the door-to-needle time (correlation coefficient 0.9, P:<0.001). Patient outcome did not differ from that in the NINDS trial (P:>0.75).


Our safety and patient outcome data compare favorably with NINDS and Phase IV data. Although a 3-hour treatment window was feasible, the median door-to-needle time lengthened as more treatment time was available and the door-to-needle time was beyond recommended standards. This review has prompted changes in our community to improve treatment efficiency.

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