Background: Symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (SICH) following thrombolytic therapy for acute ischemic stroke is associated with a high rate of morbidity and mortality. Knowledge of the risk factors associated with SICH following thrombolyitc therapy may provide insight into the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the development of SICH, lead to the development of treatments that reduce the risk of SICH and have implications for the design of future stroke trials.
Methods: Relevant studies were identified through a search in Pubmed. Included studies used multivariate analyses to identify independent risk factors for SICH following thrombolytic therapy. For each variable that was found to have a significant association with SICH, a secondary literature search was conducted to identify additional reports on the specific relationship between that variable and SICH.
Summary of review: Twelve studies met inclusion criteria for the systematic review. Extent of hypoattenuated brain parenchyma on pretreatment CT and elevated serum glucose or history of diabetes were independent risk factors for thrombolysis-associated SICH in six of the twelve studies. Symptom severity was an independent risk factor in three of the studies and advanced age, increased time to treatment, high systolic blood pressure, low platelets, history of congestive heart failure and low plasminogen activator inhibitor levels were found to be independent risk factors for SICH in a single study. Although these data should not alter the current guidelines for the use of rt-PA in acute stroke, they may help develop future strategies aimed at reducing the rate of thrombolysis-associated SICH.