Background: Early surrogates for functional outcome in anterior circulation stroke have been described with the National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) at 24 h being reported as the most accurate metric. We compare discriminatory power of established definitions of early neurological improvement (ENI) and NIHSS scores at admission and 24 h to predict functional outcome at 90 days after thrombectomy in posterior circulation stroke (PCS).
Methods: All patients enrolled in the German Stroke Registry (June 2015-December 2019) with PCS and at least vertebral or basilar artery occlusions were included. NIHSS admission, 24 h and ENI definitions (improvement of 8/10 NIHSS points or 0/1 NIHSS points at 24 h) were compared for predicting functional outcome at 90 days. Favourable and good outcome were defined as modified Rankin Scale (mRS) 0-2 and 0-3. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify factors impairing predictive power.
Results: Three hundred and eighty-seven patients were included. NIHSS 24 h had the highest discriminative power with receiver operator characteristics area under the curve of 0.87 (95% confidence interval: 0.83; 0.90) for good and 0.89 (0.85; 0.92) for favourable outcome; optimal cut-off values were ≤9 and ≤5. Higher age (odds ratio = 1.10 [1.05; 1.16]), adverse events during treatment (9.46 [1.52; 72.5]) and until discharge (18.34 [2.33; 172]) and high NIHSS scores at 24 h (1.29 [1.10; 1.53]) were independent predictors for turning the outcome prognosis from good (mRS ≤3) to poor (mRS ≥4).
Conclusions: NIHSS 24 h ≤9 points serves best as surrogate for good functional outcome after thrombectomy in PCS. Advanced age, severe neurological symptoms at admission and adverse events decrease its predictive value.
Keywords: early neurological improvement; outcome; posterior circulation stroke; prediction; thrombectomy.
© 2022 The Authors. European Journal of Neurology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Academy of Neurology.