Objective: To estimate rates, predictors, and prognostic importance of recanalization in an unselected series of patients with stroke treated with IV thrombolysis.
Methods: We performed a CT angiography or transcranial Doppler (TCD) follow-up examination 24 hours after IV thrombolysis in 64 patients with documented occlusion of the intracranial internal carotid or middle cerebral artery (MCA). Complete recanalization was defined by a rating of 3 on the Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction or 4/5 on the Thrombolysis in Brain Ischemia grading scales. Information about risk factors, clinical features, and outcome was prospectively collected by standardized procedures.
Results: Complete recanalization was achieved in 36 of the 64 patients (56.3%). There was a nonsignificant trend of recanalization rates to decline with a more proximal site of occlusion: 68.4% (M2 segment of MCA), 53.1% (M1 segment), and 46.2% (carotid T) (p for trend = 0.28). Frequencies of vessel reopening were markedly reduced in subjects with diabetes (9.1% vs 66.0% in nondiabetics, p < 0.001) and less so in subjects with additional extracranial carotid occlusion (p = 0.03). Finally, complete recanalization predicted a favorable stroke outcome at day 90 independently of the information provided by age, NIH Stroke Scale, and onset-to-needle time.
Conclusions: We found a high rate of vessel recanalization after IV thrombolysis occlusion. However, recanalization was infrequent in patients with diabetes and extracranial carotid occlusion. Information on recanalization was a powerful, early predictor for clinical outcome.