Background: Endovascular or intra-arterial treatment (IAT) increases the likelihood of recanalization in patients with acute ischemic stroke caused by a proximal intracranial arterial occlusion. However, a beneficial effect of IAT on functional recovery in patients with acute ischemic stroke remains unproven. The aim of this study is to assess the effect of IAT on functional outcome in patients with acute ischemic stroke. Additionally, we aim to assess the safety of IAT, and the effect on recanalization of different mechanical treatment modalities.
Methods/design: A multicenter randomized clinical trial with blinded outcome assessment. The active comparison is IAT versus no IAT. IAT may consist of intra-arterial thrombolysis with alteplase or urokinase, mechanical treatment or both. Mechanical treatment refers to retraction, aspiration, sonolysis, or use of a retrievable stent (stent-retriever). Patients with a relevant intracranial proximal arterial occlusion of the anterior circulation, who can be treated within 6 hours after stroke onset, are eligible. Treatment effect will be estimated with ordinal logistic regression (shift analysis); 500 patients will be included in the trial for a power of 80% to detect a shift leading to a decrease in dependency in 10% of treated patients. The primary outcome is the score on the modified Rankin scale at 90 days. Secondary outcomes are the National Institutes of Health stroke scale score at 24 hours, vessel patency at 24 hours, infarct size on day 5, and the occurrence of major bleeding during the first 5 days.
Discussion: If IAT leads to a 10% absolute reduction in poor outcome after stroke, careful implementation of the intervention could save approximately 1% of all new stroke cases from death or disability annually.
Trial registration: NTR1804 (7 May 2009)/ISRCTN10888758 (24 July 2012).