Management of thrombolysis-associated symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage

Arch Neurol. 2010 Aug;67(8):965-9. doi: 10.1001/archneurol.2010.175.


Background: Symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH) is the most devastating complication of thrombolytic therapy for acute stroke. It is not clear whether patients with sICH continue to bleed after diagnosis, nor has the most appropriate treatment been determined.

Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of our prospectively collected Get With the Guidelines-Stroke database between April 1, 2003, and December 31, 2007. Radiologic images and all procoagulant agents used were reviewed. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to identify factors associated with in-hospital mortality.

Results: Of 2362 patients with acute ischemic stroke during the study period, sICH occurred in 19 of the 311 patients (6.1%) who received intravenous tissue plasminogen activator and 2 of the 72 (2.8%) who received intra-arterial thrombolysis. In-hospital mortality was significantly higher in patients with sICH than in those without (15 of 20 [75.0]% vs 56 of 332 [16.9%], P < .001). Eleven of 20 patients (55.0%) received therapy for coagulopathy: 7 received fresh frozen plasma; 5, cryoprecipitate; 4, phytonadione (vitamin K(1)); 3, platelets; and 1, aminocaproic acid. Independent predictors of in-hospital mortality included sICH (odds ratio, 32.6; 95% confidence interval, 8.8-120.2), increasing National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score (1.2; 1.1-1.2), older age (1.3; 1.0-1.7), and intra-arterial thrombolysis (2.9; 1.4-6.0). Treatment for coagulopathy was not associated with outcome. Continued bleeding (>33% increase in intracerebral hemorrhage volume) occurred in 4 of 10 patients with follow-up scans available (40.0%).

Conclusions: In many patients with sICH after thrombolysis, coagulopathy goes untreated. Our finding of continued bleeding after diagnosis in 40.0% of patients suggests a powerful opportunity for intervention. A multicenter registry to analyze management of thrombolysis-associated intracerebral hemorrhage and outcomes is warranted.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antifibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / chemically induced*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnosis*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / metabolism
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / therapy
  • Female
  • Fibrinogen / metabolism
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stroke / drug therapy
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / adverse effects*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antifibrinolytic Agents
  • Fibrinogen
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator