Importance: The DEFUSE 3 randomized clinical trial previously demonstrated benefit of endovascular thrombectomy for acute ischemic stroke in the 6- to 16-hour time window. For treatment recommendations, it is important to know if the treatment benefit was universal.
Objective: To determine the outcomes among patients who may have a reduced effect of thrombectomy, including those who are older, have milder symptoms, or present late.
Design, setting, and participants: DEFUSE 3 was a randomized, open-label, blinded end point trial conducted from May 2016 to May 2017. This multicenter study included 38 sites in the United States. Of 296 patients who were enrolled in DEFUSE 3, 182 patients met all inclusion criteria and were randomized and included in the intention-to-treat analysis, which was conducted in August 2017. These patients had acute ischemic strokes due to an occlusion of the internal carotid artery or middle cerebral artery and evidence of salvageable tissue on perfusion computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. The study was stopped early for efficacy.
Interventions: Endovascular thrombectomy plus medical management vs medical management alone.
Main outcomes and measures: Functional outcome at day 90, assessed on the modified Rankin Scale. Multivariate ordinal logistic regression was used to calculate the adjusted proportional association between endovascular treatment and clinical outcome (shift in the distribution of modified Rankin Scale scores expressed as a common odds ratio) among patients of different ages, baseline stroke severities, onset-to-treatment times, locations of the arterial occlusion, and imaging modalities used to document the presence of salvageable tissue (computed tomography vs magnetic resonance imaging).
Results: This study included 182 patients (median [interquartile range] age, 70 [59-80] years; median [interquartile range] National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score, 16 [11-21], and 92 women [51%]). In the overall cohort, independent predictors of better functional outcome were younger age, lower baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score, and lower serum glucose level. The common odds ratio for improved functional outcome with endovascular therapy, adjusted for these variables, was 3.1 (95% CI, 1.8-5.4). There was no significant interaction between this treatment effect and age (P = .93), National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score (P = .87), time to randomization (P = .56), imaging modality (P = .49), or location of the arterial occlusion (P = .54).
Conclusions and relevance: Endovascular thrombectomy, initiated up to 16 hours after last known well time in patients with salvageable tissue on perfusion imaging, benefits patients with a broad range of clinical features. Owing to the small sample size of this study, a pooled analysis of late time window endovascular stroke trials is needed to confirm these results.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02586415.