Background and purpose: Data on safety and efficacy of intra-arterial (IA) fibrinolytics as adjunct to mechanical thrombectomy (MT) are sparse.
Methods: INtra-arterial FIbriNolytics In ThrombectomY (INFINITY) is a retrospective multi-center observational registry of consecutive patients with anterior circulation large-vessel occlusion ischemic stroke treated with MT and adjunctive administration of IA fibrinolytics (alteplase [tissue plasminogen activator, tPA] or urokinase [UK]) at 10 European centers. Primary outcome was the occurrence of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (sICH) according to the European Cooperative Acute Stroke Study II definition. Secondary outcomes were mortality and modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores at 3 months.
Results: Of 5,612 patients screened, 311 (median age, 74 years; 44.1% female) received additional IA after or during MT (194 MT+IA tPA, 117 MT+IA UK). IA fibrinolytics were mostly administered for rescue of thrombolysis in cerebral infarction (TICI) 0-2b after MT (80.4%, 250/311). sICH occurred in 27 of 308 patients (8.8%), with an increased risk in patients with initial TICI0/1 (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1 to 5.0 per TICI grade decrease) or in those with intracranial internal carotid artery occlusions (aOR, 3.7; 95% CI, 1.2 to 12.5). In patients with attempted rescue of TICI0-2b and available angiographic follow-up, 116 of 228 patients (50.9%) showed any angiographic reperfusion improvement after IA fibrinolytics, which was associated with mRS ≤2 (aOR, 3.1; 95% CI, 1.4 to 6.9).
Conclusions: Administration of IA fibrinolytics as adjunct to MT is performed rarely, but can improve reperfusion, which is associated with better outcomes. Despite a selection bias, an increased risk of sICH seems possible, which underlines the importance of careful patient selection.
Keywords: Intracranial hemorrhages; Stroke; Thrombectomy; Thrombolytic therapy; Tissue plasminogen activator.