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Stroke. 2002 Jun;33(6):1557-65.

Computed tomographic findings in patients undergoing intra-arterial thrombolysis for acute ischemic stroke due to middle cerebral artery occlusion: results from the PROACT II trial.

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Department of Radiology, University of California, San Francisco, USA.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of noncontrast CT in the selection of patients to receive thrombolytic therapy for acute ischemic stroke and to predict radiological and clinical outcomes.


One hundred eighty patients with stroke due to middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion were randomized 2:1 within 6 hours of onset to receive intra-arterial recombinant prourokinase plus intravenous heparin or intravenous heparin only. Four hundred fifty-four CT examinations were digitized to calculate early infarct changes, infarct volumes, and hemorrhagic changes among the 162 patients treated as randomized (108 recombinant prourokinase-treated patients and 54 control patients). CT changes were correlated with baseline stroke severity, angiographic clot location, collateral vessels, and outcome at 90 days.


Baseline CT scans, 120 (75%) of 159, showed early infarct-related abnormalities. The baseline CT abnormality volume was not correlated with the baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score (r=-0.11) but was correlated weakly with the outcome (r=0.17, P<0.05). Compared with patients with M2 occlusions, patients with M1 MCA occlusions had significantly higher baseline NIHSS scores (P<0.05), more basal ganglia involvement on CT, and larger hypodensity volumes on follow-up CTs. Compared with patients with partial or no collateral supply, patients with full collateral supply had lower baseline NIHSS scores, significantly smaller baseline CT infarct volumes, and less cortical involvement (P<0.05).


Noncontrast CT is not correlated with baseline stroke severity and does not predict outcome in patients with stroke due to MCA occlusion. However, baseline CT changes, clinical presentation, and the evolution of CT changes are influenced by clot location and the presence of a collateral supply.

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