Objective: Intravenous thrombolytic therapy has been widely recommended as a standard treatment for acute ischemic stroke in most clinical practice guidelines. However, the experience in Asia is still limited. We report the first prospective case series of thrombolytic therapy in a developing Asian country.
Patients and methods: Consecutive patients with acute ischemic stroke who presented within 3 h of onset were screened under stroke fast track program. Those who were eligible were treated with intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA). General and neurological examinations together with the National Institute of Health stroke scale (NHISS) and modified Rankin scale (MRS) were recorded prior to and after the treatment at 1 h, 24 h, on discharge and at 3 months. Hemorrhagic brain lesion and death within 3 months were also recorded.
Results: Thirty-four patients or 2.1% of patients with acute stroke received intravenous thrombolysis. The mean pretreatment NIHSS was 18.8 and the majority of patients had stroke in the middle cerebral artery territory. The mean door-to-needle time was 72.6 min (ranged 20-150 min). Major neurological improvement, defined as improving of the NIHSS >8 points or NIHSS of 0 points at 24 h, was observed in 17 patients (50%). Intracerebral hemorrhage was detected in four cases (11.8%), two of them were symptomatic (5.9%) and one was fatal.
Conclusion: Intravenous thrombolysis can be given in patients with acute stroke in our population. Our cases were more severe than other studies. However, half of them experienced major neurological improvement. The risk of hemorrhagic brain lesion is not much higher than previously reported.