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Cerebrovasc Dis Extra. 2013 Mar 23;3(1):35-45. doi: 10.1159/000348552. eCollection 2013.

Negative fluid-attenuated inversion recovery-based intravenous thrombolysis using recombinant tissue plasminogen activator in acute stroke patients with unknown onset time.

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1
Department of Stroke Medicine, Kawasaki Medical School, Kurashiki, Japan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Approximately 25% of acute stroke patients were excluded from intravenous thrombolysis using recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (IV-tPA) because of unknown onset time. Recent studies have shown that patients with unknown onset time would be able to receive IV-tPA when showing no ischemia on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (negative FLAIR). The present study evaluated the safety and feasibility of IV-tPA in patients with unknown onset time and negative FLAIR compared to those with standard IV-tPA.

METHODS:

Stroke patients with unknown onset time were prospectively enrolled. Only patients with an occlusion of the internal carotid artery (ICA) and/or middle cerebral artery (M1 and M2) with a Diffusion-Weighted Imaging-Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score (DWI-ASPECTS) ≥5 were analyzed. IV-tPA was performed within 3 h from the 'first found abnormal time' if the patient showed negative FLAIR. Standard IV-tPA patients were extracted from our registry as controls after having been matched by age and occluded artery to the negative FLAIR (N-F) group.

RESULTS:

Twenty patients in the N-F group and 60 in the control group were included. National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) scores [median 18 (interquartile range 13-20) vs. 17 (12-20), p = 0.609] and DWI-ASPECTS [9 (7-9) vs. 8 (5-9), p = 0.213] were similar between the 2 groups. ICA occlusion was seen in 35%, M1 in 50%, and M2 in 15% in both groups. None of the N-F group and 1 (2%) of the control group experienced symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (p = 1.000). Recanalization within 1 h after IV-tPA was achieved in 6 (30%) patients in the N-F group and 24 (40%) in the control group (p = 0.595). Recanalization at 24 h after IV-tPA was seen in 13 (65%) patients in the N-F group and 43 (72%) in the control group (p = 0.584). At 7 days, 8 (40%) in the N-F group and 28 (47%) in the control group had a dramatic recovery (defined as a ≥10-point reduction in the total NIHSS score or a score of 0 or 1) (p = 0.796). At 3 months, a favorable outcome (modified Rankin scale score, 0-2) was seen in 47% in the N-F group and 33% in the control group (p = 0.365).

CONCLUSION:

IV-tPA in negative FLAIR patients with unknown onset time appears safe and feasible.

KEYWORDS:

Acute ischemic stroke; Fluid-attenuated inversion recovery; Thrombolysis; Unknown onset time

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