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J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2008 Mar-Apr;17(2):64-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2007.10.002.

Intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator improves arterial recanalization rates and reduces infarct volumes in patients with hyperdense artery sign on baseline computed tomography.

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University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio 45267,



We sought to evaluate arterial recanalization as measured by changes in the presence of hyperdense artery sign (HAS) on initial and 24-hour computed tomography scans in patients treated with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) or placebo, and to assess the effect of rt-PA on patient outcomes in this population.


Patients in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) rt-PA Stroke Trial composed the study group. We determined the percentage of patients with HAS in rt-PA- and placebo-treated groups who had persistence (HAS +/+) or resolution (HAS +/-) of HAS on 24-hour computed tomography, and compared outcomes in those with resolution or persistence of the sign in these treatment groups.


Baseline HAS occurred in 79 of 604 eligible patients (13%). The two treatment groups were similar, although patients treated with rt-PA were significantly older. Of the 79 patients with HAS on baseline computed tomography scan, 14 of 37 (38%) treated with rt-PA had resolution of HAS at 24 hours compared with 7 of 42 (17%) treated with placebo (P = .03). Infarct volumes at 24 hours were significantly smaller in patients treated with rt-PA with resolution of the sign, compared with those who had persistence of the sign (P = .004). In our analysis, functional outcomes were not significantly improved based on resolution of HAS in either treatment group. There were 4 symptomatic ICHs in the rt-PA-treated group with HAS as compared with two in the placebo-treated group.


Among patients with HAS at baseline in the NINDS rt-PA Stroke Trial, intravenous rt-PA increased recanalization as measured by resolution of HAS and reduced infarct volumes at 24 hours.

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