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Stroke. 2010 Oct;41(10):2259-64. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.588632. Epub 2010 Sep 9.

Is thrombolysis safe in the elderly?: analysis of a national database.

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Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Souers Stroke Institute, St Louis University, St Louis, MO 63104, USA.



Thrombolysis for acute ischemic stroke in the elderly population is seldom administered.


In this study, we evaluated the risks of thrombolysis, including the mortality and intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) rates in this population. A cohort of patients was identified from the National Inpatient Sample database for the years 2000-2006. Age was categorized in 2 groups, including those between 18 and 80 years and those >80 years. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to assess covariates associated with hospital mortality and ICH. A total of 524 997 patients were admitted for acute ischemic stroke; 143 093 (27.2%) were >80 years. A total of 7950 patients were treated with thrombolysis, of which 1659 (20.9%) were >80 years. Elderly patients received less frequent thrombolysis compared with the younger population (1.05% versus 1.72%).


In the whole cohort, the mortality rate was higher in the older population (12.80% versus 8.99%). For those treated with thrombolysis, the mortality rate and risk of ICH were higher among those >80 years (16.9% versus 11.5%; odds ratio: 1.56 [95% CI: 1.35 to 1.82] and 5.73% versus 4.40%; odds ratio: 1.31 [95% CI: 1.03 to 1.67], respectively). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that the presence of ICH (odds ratio: 2.24 [95% CI: 1.89 to 2.65]) was associated with higher mortality rates but not the use of thrombolysis (odds ratio: 1.14 [95% CI: 0.98 to 1.33]).


Despite the higher mortality rate in the older population, the use of thrombolysis does not predict death; however, the use of thrombolysis was associated with high risk of ICH.

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