Background and aims Acute occlusions of the large intracranial arteries are relatively resistant to intravenous thrombolysis. Therefore, multimodal approaches combining intravenous thrombolysis with endovascular mechanical recanalization are increasingly being applied. In this setting, intravenous thrombolysis may facilitate subsequent mechanical thrombectomy. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed the influence of intravenous thrombolysis on net intervention time in subsequent endovascular mechanical recanalization.
Methods In this retrospective single-center analysis, we compared net intervention time with and without preceding intravenous thrombolysis in patients treated by endovascular mechanical recanalization between 01/2003 and 06/2010. The net intervention time was defined as the interval between the onset of endovascular thrombus manipulation and successful vessel recanalization.
Results We identified 65 eligible patients, 35 of whom were treated by intravenous thrombolysis before mechanical therapy. Recanalization was achieved in 26 patients with (74%) and 23 patients without preceding intravenous thrombolysis (77%). In the case of successful recanalization, the net intervention time was significantly shorter in patients with preceding intravenous thrombolysis (24·8 ± 22·8 vs. 44·2 ± 40·5 min; P<0·05). This difference remained significant after restricting the analysis to the patients treated by the Penumbra Stroke System© (n=32). After three-months, patients with preceding intravenous thrombolysis were more likely to be functionally independent (modified Rankin Scale≤2) than those without (P<0·05).
Conclusions Our findings suggest that preceding intravenous thrombolysis may reduce the intervention time in patients treated by endovascular mechanical recanalization. However, due to the retrospective design of our study, these findings have to be interpreted with caution and need confirmation in a larger patient population.