Risks and benefits of early antithrombotic therapy after thrombolytic treatment in patients with acute stroke

PLoS One. 2013 Aug 8;8(8):e71132. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0071132. eCollection 2013.


Background: Current guidelines recommend withholding antithrombotic therapy (ATT) for at least 24 h in patients with acute ischemic stroke treated with thrombolytic therapy. Herein, we report a retrospective analysis of a single-centre experience on the safety and efficacy of antithrombotic therapy (ATT) started before or after 24 h of intravenous thrombolysis in a cohort of acute ischemic stroke patients.

Methods: A total of 139 patients (Rapid ATT group) received antithrombotic therapy before 24 h of thrombolysis, and 33 patients (Standard ATT group) after 24 h. The brain parenchyma and vessel status were assessed using simple CT scan on admission, multimodal CT scan at the end of thrombolysis, and angio-CT/MRI scan at day 3. Functional outcome was scored using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) at day 90.

Results: The two ATT groups had similar demographics, stroke subtypes, baseline NIHSS, thrombolytic strategies, vessel-patency rates at the end of thrombolysis, and incidence of bleeding complications at follow up. At day 3, the Rapid ATT group had a non-significant improved vessel-patency rate than the Standard ATT group. At day 90, a greater proportion of patients in the rapid ATT group had shifted down the mRS, and had improved in the NIHSS score.

Conclusions: ATT initiated before 24 h of intravenous thrombolytic therapy in acute stroke patients disclosed no safety concerns compared with a conventional antithrombotic therapy delay of 24 h and showed better functional outcome at follow up. The value of early initiation of ATT after thrombolysis deserves further assessment in randomized controlled trials.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Aspirin / administration & dosage
  • Aspirin / adverse effects
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use*
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Clopidogrel
  • Female
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / adverse effects
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Heparin / administration & dosage
  • Heparin / adverse effects
  • Heparin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Stroke / drug therapy*
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / adverse effects
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / methods*
  • Ticlopidine / administration & dosage
  • Ticlopidine / adverse effects
  • Ticlopidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Ticlopidine / therapeutic use


  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Heparin
  • Clopidogrel
  • Ticlopidine
  • Aspirin

Grant support

The authors have no support or funding to report.