Drivers of costs associated with reperfusion therapy in acute stroke: the Interventional Management of Stroke III Trial

Stroke. 2014 Jun;45(6):1791-8. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.003874. Epub 2014 May 13.


Background and purpose: The Interventional Management of Stroke (IMS) III study tested the effect of intravenous tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) alone when compared with intravenous tPA followed by endovascular therapy and collected cost data to assess the economic implications of the 2 therapies. This report describes the factors affecting the costs of the initial hospitalization for acute stroke subjects from the United States.

Methods: Prospective cost analysis of the US subjects was treated with intravenous tPA alone or with intravenous tPA followed by endovascular therapy in the IMS III trial. Results were compared with expected Medicare payments.

Results: The adjusted cost of a stroke admission in the study was $35 130 for subjects treated with endovascular therapy after intravenous tPA treatment and $25 630 for subjects treated with intravenous tPA alone (P<0.0001). Significant factors related to costs included treatment group, baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, time from stroke onset to intravenous tPA, age, stroke location, and comorbid diabetes mellitus. The mean cost for subjects who had routine use of general anesthesia as part of endovascular therapy was $46 444 when compared with $30 350 for those who did not have general anesthesia. The costs of embolectomy for IMS III subjects and patients from the National Inpatient Sample cohort exceeded the Medicare diagnosis-related group payment in ≥75% of patients.

Conclusions: Minimizing the time to start of intravenous tPA and decreasing the use of routine general anesthesia may improve the cost-effectiveness of medical and endovascular therapy for acute stroke.

Clinical trial registration url: Unique identifier: NCT00359424.

Keywords: brain ischemic; costs and cost analysis; hospitals; reperfusion; stroke.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anesthesia, General / economics*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stroke / economics*
  • Stroke / therapy
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / economics*
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / economics*
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / therapeutic use
  • United States


  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator

Associated data