Objective: It is estimated that one of four ischemic strokes are noticed upon awakening and are not candidates for intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA) because their symptoms are >3 hours from last seen normal (LSN). We tested the safety of rtPA in a multicenter, single-arm, prospective, open-label study (NCT01183533) in patients with wake-up stroke (WUS).
Methods: We aimed to enroll 40 WUS patients with disabling deficits. Patients were 18 to 80 years of age, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) ≤25, and selected only on the appearance of noncontrast computed tomography (ie, over one-third middle cerebral artery territory hypodensity). Standard-dose (0.9mg/kg) intravenous rtPA had to be started ≤3 hours of patient awakening. The primary safety outcome was symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH) with preplanned stopping rules and data safety board oversight. Other endpoints included: asymptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage; clinical improvement in NIHSS; and 90-day modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score.
Results: Between October 2010 and October 2013, all 40 preplanned patients were enrolled (50% men) at five stroke centers. Four patients (10%) were subsequently determined to be mimics. Patients had a mean age of 60.8, median NIHSS of 6.5 (range, 2-24), and received thrombolysis at a mean time of 10.3 ± 2.6 LSN and 2.6 ± 0.6 hours from awakening with deficits. No sICH or parenchymal hematomas occurred. At 3 months, 20 of 38 (52.6%) patients achieved excellent recovery with mRS scores of 0 or 1 (2 patients were lost to follow-up).
Interpretation: Intravenous thrombolysis was safe in this prospective WUS study of patients selected by noncontrast CT. A randomized effectiveness trial appears feasible using a similar, pragmatic design. Ann Neurol 2016;80:211-218.
© 2016 American Neurological Association.