Send to

Choose Destination
J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2016 Dec;25(12):2868-2875. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2016.07.048. Epub 2016 Aug 25.

Cognitive Outcomes following Thrombolysis in Acute Ischemic Stroke: A Systematic Review.

Author information

NISCHR Haemostasis Biomedical Research Unit, Emergency Department, Morriston Hospital, Swansea, United Kingdom. Electronic address:
NISCHR Haemostasis Biomedical Research Unit, Emergency Department, Morriston Hospital, Swansea, United Kingdom.
Psychiatry of Older People, College of Medicine, Swansea University, Swansea, United Kingdom.



Patients treated with thrombolytic therapy within 4.5 hours after stroke onset appear to have improved survival and functional outcomes. Poststroke cognitive impairment is associated with reduced quality of life and survival and needs to be reviewed in consideration of the administration of thrombolysis. This review aims to systematically evaluate literature exploring the effect of thrombolysis for ischemic stroke on cognition.


An electronic search was conducted to identify articles and gray literature applying broad Medical Subject Heading terms. Literature was reviewed with a 2-step process against predetermined inclusion criteria. All relevant studies were included if they investigated global or individual cognitive domains.


Three studies satisfied the inclusion criteria but were diverse in outcome measures and duration, their heterogeneity limiting any possible pooled analysis. One study examined long-term treatment effects on global cognition and did not find a positive effect at 6 months. A positive treatment effect was reported in the acute phase in 1 study examining domains of visuoconstructive and perceptive abilities. One study retrospectively analyzed treatment effects on language and found improvement in the acute phase but not in the long term.


The limited existing evidence on the effects of thrombolytic therapy on long- and short-term cognition is varied in both outcome measures and diagnostic classifications, making it difficult to extrapolate results to a global stroke population. This review should be used to inform future research in stroke treatment outcomes and highlights the immediate need for larger, more robust studies in this area.


Stroke; cerebrovascular disorder; cognitive disorder; cognitive impairment; neurological impairment; recombinant tissue plasminogen activator; thrombolytic therapy

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center