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Thrombolysis for Acute Ischemic Stroke in Patients With Premorbid Disability: A Meta-Analysis

Stroke. 2022 Jun 10:101161STROKEAHA121038374. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.121.038374. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Randomized controlled trials for the use of alteplase in acute ischemic stroke have excluded or had little representation of patients with prestroke disability, and the benefit of alteplase in this population remains uncertain. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the outcomes of thrombolysis in patients with premorbid disability.

METHODS: We performed a systematic review in accordance with the Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology guidelines and retrieved studies reporting intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) in patients with prestroke disability (modified Rankin Scale score, 3-5) with acute ischemic stroke, either compared with untreated patients or treated patients without premorbid disability. The primary outcome was the return to premorbid disability at 90 days. Secondary outcomes included rate and odds ratio of favorable functional outcome at 90 days (modified Rankin Scale score 0-2 or return to premorbid modified Rankin Scale), symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH), and 90-day mortality.

RESULTS: Eight articles were included involving 103 988 patients. Patients with disability treated with IVT had better odds of returning to baseline function compared with those who did not receive IVT (odds ratio, 7.26 [95% CI, 2.51-21.02]). Mortality and rates of sICH were not significantly different between patients with disability treated with IVT and those not treated, although there were numerically more sICHs in the IVT group. Return to baseline function was not significantly different between patients with and without prestroke disability (odds ratio, 1.46 [95% CI, 0.75-2.83]). The rates of sICH were not significantly different in patients with and without premorbid disability. However, mortality was 3× higher in patients with premorbid disability than in those without premorbid disability (38.2% versus 12.6%).

CONCLUSIONS: The use of IVT in patients with disability was associated with better outcomes compared with patients who did not receive IVT without statistically significant added risks of sICH or mortality. When compared with those without disability, there was no significant difference in the return to baseline function or sICH. High-quality data comparing treated versus untreated patients with premorbid disability are needed to clarify this issue.

REGISTRATION: URL:; Unique identifier: CRD42021240499.

PMID:35686556 | DOI:10.1161/STROKEAHA.121.038374

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