Thrombolysis is nowadays the preferred therapy for ischemic stroke management.
Many controversies on his safety and discussion on evidences that support benefits on long term outcomes, aroused from most of the studies supporting the use of alteplase in stroke patients.
New technologies has been recently developed for endovascular therapy and this made possible a steady step forwar for its use in targeted treatment of obstructed cerebral vessels.
Imaging detection of the lesion, targeted vessels treatment has been applied to a selected group of patients avoiding blind systemic thrombolytic administration.
New studies and good evidences support this technique. Selecting patients with advanced imaging techniques, using the latest stent retriever devices, and performing the intervention earlier is the key of a revolving way to investigate endovascular theraphy in ischemic stroke.
The addition of this tecnique when one of the major cerebral artery is obstructed almost double, according some investigators, the chance of good neurological outcome comparing to tPa alone.
Here is a short review of the 4 most recent studies on this topic:
500 patients where enrolled at 16 medical centers in Netherlands were assigned to intra-arterial treatment or to usual care alone. The primary outcome was the odds ratio of achieving a lower score on the modified Rankin scale at 90 days with endovascular therapy. There was an absolute difference of 13.5 percentage points in the rate of functional independence in favor of the intervention (32.6% vs. 19.1%). There were no significant differences in mortality or the occurrence of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage.
Patients with a proximal intracranial occlusion in the anterior circulation were included up to 12 hours after symptom onset. Participants where randomly assigned to receive standard care (control group) or standard care plus endovascular treatment with the use of available thrombectomy devices (intervention group). Patients with a proximal intracranial occlusion in the anterior circulation were included up to 12 hours after symptom onset. Patients with a large infarct core or poor collateral circulation on computed tomography (CT) and CT angiography were excluded.
The trial was stopped early because of efficacy. The primary outcome favored the intervention, and the intervention was associated with reduced mortality (10.4%, vs. 19.0% in the control group). Symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage occurred in 3.6% of participants in intervention group and 2.7% of participants in control group (P=0.75).
Patients with ischemic stroke who were receiving alteplase less than 4.5 hours after the onset of ischemic stroke where randomly assigned either to undergo endovascular thrombectomy with the Solitaire FR (Flow Restoration) stent retriever or to continue receiving alteplase alone. All the patients had occlusion of the internal carotid or middle cerebral artery and evidence of salvageable brain tissue and ischemic core of less than 70 ml on computed tomographic (CT) perfusion imaging.
The trial was stopped early because of efficacy after 70 patients had undergone randomization. The percentage of ischemic territory that had undergone reperfusion at 24 hours was greater in the endovascular-therapy group than in the alteplase-only group.
The study is to determine if patients experiencing an Acute Ischemic Stroke due to large vessel occlusion, treated with combined IV t-PA and Solitaire FR within 6 hours of symptom onset have less stroke-related disability than those patients treated with IV t-PA alone.
The Primary endpoint is 90-day global disability assessed via the blinded evaluation of modified Rankin score (mRS).
The primary endpoint showed a substantial shift to lower disability levels on the modified Rankin scale. The proportion of patients alive and free of major disability at 3 months also significantly improved, along with mean improvement of National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score at 27 hours.