Thrombolysis in patients with acute ischemic stroke due to arterial extracranial dissection

Eur J Neurol. 2009 May;16(5):646-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2009.02553.x. Epub 2009 Feb 13.


Background and purpose: No data of randomized controlled trials investigating the effect of thrombolysis in patients with ischemic stroke caused by an extracranial dissection are available. Previous case series suggested that thrombolysis in this group of patients is safe and improves outcome, however publication bias may play a role. The purpose of the present study was to describe outcome of consecutive patients with ischemic stroke caused by an extracranial dissection treated with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA), derived from a well-defined ischemic stroke cohort.

Methods: All consecutive patients with a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or ischemic stroke admitted to the Academic Medical Center Amsterdam between January 1, 2007 and September 1, 2007 were prospectively registered. Cause of TIA/stroke, treatment, and 6-months outcome were recorded.

Results: During the study period 252 patients were evaluated with TIA or ischemic stroke. Eight patients (3%) had an extracranial dissection. Of the six rtPA treated patients, five had good clinical outcome and one patient died. The two patients who were not treated with rtPA, because of minor stroke, had good clinical outcome 6 months after index event.

Discussion: Treatment with rtPA seems to be safe and feasible in ischemic stroke patients with an extracranial dissection.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aortic Dissection / complications*
  • Arteries / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Stroke / drug therapy*
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Thrombolytic Therapy*
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / therapeutic use*


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator