Objectives: The hyperintense acute reperfusion marker (HARM) has been described as a predictor for haemorrhagic transformation (HT) in acute ischaemic stroke. We hypothesised that this phenomenon is not present in the elderly.
Methods: It was possible to assess 47/84 consecutive patients aged 80 and over with diagnosed ischaemic stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA). MRI was performed within 24 h of onset of symptoms with follow-up MRI within a further 48 h.
Results: Of 47 included patients, 19 showed HARM; it was only seen on follow-up examination. Ten of the 47 patients underwent thrombolysis with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA); 4 of them showed HARM, and 1 of those showed HT. HARM was found in three out of eight patients with haemorrhagic transformation on baseline and/or follow-up MRI. We did not observe an association between HARM and early HT either in the whole group or in the patients who received thrombolysis.
Conclusion: HARM was not associated with HT in the elderly after ischaemic stroke, independent of treatment. While it may indicate dysfunction of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), it does not necessarily amount to HT.