BACKGROUND: endovascular therapy (ET) is the standard of care for anterior circulation acute ischemic stroke (AIS) caused by large vessel occlusion (LVO). The role of adjunctive intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) in these patients remains unclear. The present study aims to investigate whether IVT followed by ET (CoT, combined therapy) provides additional benefits over direct ET for anterior circulation AIS with LVO.
METHODS: we achieved a single center retrospective study of patients with AIS caused by anterior circulation LVO, referred to our center between January 2014 and January 2017 and treated with ET. Functional recovery (modified Rankin at 3-months follow-up), recanalization rate (thrombolysis in cerebral infarction [TICI] score) and time, early follow-up brain CT scan infarct volume (EFIV) (for recanalized patients only), symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH) and 3-month mortality were the outcomes of interests. Independent predictors of the outcomes were explored with multivariable logistic regression.
RESULTS: 145 subjects were included in the study, of whom 70 underwent direct ET and 75 were treated with CoT. Functional independence at 3-months was more frequent in CoT subjects compared to patients who received direct ET (mRS score 0-1: 48.5% vs 18.6%; P < 0.001. mRS score 0-2: 67.1% vs 37.3%; P < 0.001); CoT patients had also higher first-pass success rate (62.7% vs 38.6%, P < 0.05), higher recanalization rate (84.3% vs 65.3%; P = 0.009) and, in recanalized subjects, smaller EFIV (16.4 ml vs 62.3 ml; P = 0.003). Mortality and intracranial bleeding did not differ between the two groups. In multivariable regression analysis, low baseline NIHSS score (P < 0.05), vessel recanalization (P = 0.05) and CoT (P = 0.03) were independent predictors of favorable outcome at three months.
CONCLUSIONS: CoT appears more effective than ET alone for anterior circulation AIS with LVO, with similar safety profile.