Unfavorable Outcome of Thrombolysis in Chinese Patients with Cardioembolic Stroke: a Prospective Cohort Study

CNS Neurosci Ther. 2015 Aug;21(8):657-61. doi: 10.1111/cns.12421. Epub 2015 Jun 20.


Background: Thrombolysis with alteplase is an effective and safe treatment for acute ischemic stroke (AIS). It is controversial whether the outcome of thrombolysis in cardioembolic stroke is different from that of other stroke subtypes. This study compares the outcomes at 3 months postthrombolysis in Chinese patients with AIS secondary to cardioembolism (CE) to the outcomes of those with large-artery atherosclerosis (LAA).

Methods: Using the Thrombolysis Implementation and Monitoring of Acute Ischemic Stroke in China (TIMS-China) cohort, we prospectively followed 827 patients treated within 4.5 h of onset symptoms with alteplase as an intravenous thrombolytic agent. CE and LAA were defined according to TOAST criteria. We compared symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (SICH), mortality, and functional outcome at 3 months using multivariables logistic regression analysis.

Results: In this cohort, 221 (19.6%) had CE and 606 (53.7%) had LAA. Approximately 2/3 of patients with CE had atrial fibrillation. Symptoms at onset were more severe in patients with CE than in those with LAA (NIHSS, 15.0 vs. 11.0; P < 0.0001); increased rate of SICH (5.9% vs. 0.8%; P < 0.0001); higher mortality (18.6% vs. 10.3%; P = 0.0015); and reduced functional independence (43.6% vs. 55.9%; P = 0.0018) at 3-month follow-up. After adjustment for baseline variables, the clinical outcome of patients with CE was worse than that of patients with LAA (OR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.39 to 0.97, P = 0.0378).

Conclusions: Patients with cardioembolic stroke had more SICH after thrombolysis, and worse clinical outcome at 3-month follow-up compared with those with LAA. This emphasizes the importance of preventing cardioembolism.

Keywords: Cardioembolism; Large-artery atherosclerosis; Outcome; Stroke subtypes; Symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage; Thrombolysis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Brain Ischemia / drug therapy*
  • Brain Ischemia / etiology
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology
  • China
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriosclerosis / complications
  • Intracranial Arteriosclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Intracranial Arteriosclerosis / physiopathology
  • Intracranial Embolism / complications
  • Intracranial Embolism / drug therapy*
  • Intracranial Embolism / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stroke / drug therapy*
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Thrombolytic Therapy
  • Treatment Outcome