Rescue Thrombectomy in Large Vessel Occlusion Strokes Leads to Better Outcomes than Intravenous Thrombolysis Alone: A 'Real World' Applicability of the Recent Trials

Interv Neurol. 2016 Sep;5(3-4):101-110. doi: 10.1159/000445809. Epub 2016 May 27.


Background: The Interventional Management of Stroke III (IMS-III) trial demonstrated no benefit for intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (IV rt-PA) followed by endovascular therapy versus IV rt-PA alone. However, IMS-III mostly included earlier generation devices. The recent thrombectomy trials have incorporated the stent-retriever technology, but their generalizability remains unknown.

Methods: The North American Solitaire Acute Stroke (NASA) registry recruited patients treated with the Solitaire FR™ device between March 2012 and February 2013. The NASA-IMS-III-Like Group (NILG baseline NIHSS score ≥10 who received IV rt-PA) was compared to the IV rt-PA and IV + intra-arterial (IA)-IMS-III groups and the MR CLEAN, ESCAPE, SWIFT Prime, and REVASCAT trial controls to assess the stent-retriever treatment in the 'real-world' setting. The NILG was also compared to non-IV rt-PA NASA patients to evaluate the impact of IV rt-PA on thrombectomy.

Results: A total of 136 of the 354 NASA patients fulfilled criteria for the NILG. Baseline characteristics were well balanced across groups. Time from onset to puncture was higher in NILG than IV+IA-IMS-III patients (274 ± 112 vs. 208 ± 47 min, p < 0.0001). Occlusions involving the intracranial ICA, MCA-M1, or basilar arteries were more common in NILG than IV+IA-IMS-III patients (91.2 vs. 47.2%, p < 0.00001). Modified thrombolysis in cerebral infarction ≥2b reperfusion was higher in NILG than IV+IA-IMS-III patients (74.3 vs. 39.6%, p < 0.00001). A 90-day modified Rankin Scale score ≤2 was more frequent in the NILG than IV+IA-IMS-III patients (51.9 vs. 40.8%, p = 0.03) and MR CLEAN (51.9 vs. 19.1%, p < 0.00001), ESCAPE (51.9 vs. 29.3%, p = 0.0002), SWIFT Prime (51.9 vs. 35.5%, p = 0.02), and REVASCAT (51.9 vs. 28.2%, p = 0.0003) controls. Symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage definitions varied across the different studies with rates ranging from 2.7% (ESCAPE) to 11.9% (NILG). The NILG 90-day mortality (24.4%) was higher than in SWIFT Prime but comparable to all other groups. IV rt-PA was an independent predictor of good outcome in NASA (OR = 2.3, 95% CI 1.2-4.7).

Conclusion: Our results support the 'real-world' applicability of the recent thrombectomy trials.

Keywords: Interventional Management of Stroke III trial; Intravenous thrombolysis; Large vessel occlusion; Rescue thrombectomy.