Background: Current guidelines do not recommend the administration of intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV-tPA) to patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS) who take new oral anticoagulants (NOACs). We present a multicenter case series of IV-tPA use while the patients are on NOACs, as well as a systematic review of the literature.
Methods: We reviewed the medical records of consecutive patients on NOACs who received IV-tPA for symptoms of AIS at four participating stroke centers in the United States and Europe. Safety endpoints were post-thrombolysis symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (sICH) or other serious systemic bleeding.
Results: Between October 2010 and October 2014, 6 patients received IV-tPA for possible AIS while taking dabigatran. None of the patients had sICH or any other hemorrhagic complication. Literature review resulted in a total of 26 patients receiving IV-tPA while on NOACs (dabigatran: 15, rivaroxaban: 10, apixaban: 1). Among them, two patients experienced sICH and died. None of the patients experienced major extracranial hemorrhage; however, minor and asymptomatic hemorrhagic complications were described in 7 patients. Pooled analysis indicates an sICH rate of 6.45% (95% CI by the adjusted Wald method: .8-21.7%). The mean interval between the last dose of NOAC and IV thrombolysis was 12 ± 7.8 [4-28.3] hours.
Conclusions: Although the safety of IV-tPA cannot be definitively confirmed in a small series, consideration of stroke severity and management of hemorrhage risk with general precautions with post-tPA management protocols can justify treatment in the absence of coagulopathy.
Keywords: Acute ischemic stroke; acute stroke therapy; anticoagulants; intracerebral hemorrhage; new oral anticoagulants; tPA; thrombolysis.
Copyright © 2015 National Stroke Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.