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Neurocrit Care. 2012 Oct;17(2):199-203. doi: 10.1007/s12028-012-9734-9.

Intravenous rt-PA is not associated with increased risk of hemorrhage in patients with intracranial aneurysms.

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Department of Neurology, Shock Trauma and Anesthesiology Research Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.



The presence of an intracranial aneurysm is listed as an exclusion criterion for the administration of recombinant tissue-plasminogen activator (rt-PA). This study was designed to test the hypothesis that the administration of rt-PA is safe in patients who have an unruptured intracranial aneurysm.


We performed a retrospective analysis of all acute ischemic stroke patients treated with rt-PA at our tertiary care academic medical center from June 2006 to June 2010 who also received intracranial vessel imaging. Baseline clinical characteristics were prospectively determined. Identification of hemorrhage and the presence of aneurysm were obtained from radiology report, and neuro-imaging findings were confirmed by study investigators. Symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH) was defined according to National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke criteria.


Five percent of patients (8/172) had at least one intracranial aneurysm on vessel imaging. A total of seven patients (4 %) had sICH. There was no significant difference in intracranial aneurysms between patients with or without sICH [1/7 (14 %) vs. 7/165 (4.2 %), p = 0.29]. In one patient with sICH and an intracranial aneurysm, the location of hemorrhage was distant from the aneurysm. The only predictors found for sICH in our cohort were atrial fibrillation (p = 0.03) and infarct size (p = 0.0004).


Incidental intracranial aneurysms are common in patients who were present with acute ischemic stroke and not associated with sICH in our population. The concern that these patients are at increased risk of hemorrhage after thrombolysis may not be warranted.

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