Importance: Endovascular therapy (EVT) has been found to reduce functional disability in patients with acute stroke due to large-vessel occlusion. However, the extent of the ischemic region, measured using Alberta Stroke Program Early Computed Tomography Scores, may limit the efficacy of EVT.
Objective: To compare the efficacy and safety of EVT according to ASPECTS 3 or less vs 4 to 5.
Design, setting, and participants: The Recovery by Endovascular Salvage for Cerebral Ultra-acute Embolism-Japan Large Ischemic Core Trial (RESCUE-Japan LIMIT) was an open-label randomized clinical trial conducted from November 2018 to December 2021 at 45 stroke centers across Japan. The trial enrolled adult patients with acute ischemic stroke with a large ischemic region, defined as ASPECTS 3 to 5 primarily determined by magnetic resonance imaging, with occlusion site at the internal carotid artery or middle cerebral artery segment 1. Among 203 enrolled patients, 1 withdrew consent and 202 were included in the original trial and secondary analysis. This secondary analysis was conducted in April 2022.
Interventions: Patients were randomly assigned to EVT with medical therapy or medical therapy alone.
Main outcomes and measures: Modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score at 90 days and symptomatic and any intracranial hemorrhage within 48 hours.
Results: Among 202 patients, 106 (52%) had ASPECTS 3 or less (mean [SD] age, 76.7 [9.6] years; 54 female individuals [50.9%]) and 96 had ASPECTS 4 to 5 (mean [SD] age, 75.6 [10.6] years; 36 female individuals [37.5%]). Of patients with ASPECTS 3 or less, 12 (21.4%) in the EVT group and 9 (18.0%) in the no EVT group had an mRS score of 0 to 3 (odds ratio [OR], 1.24; 95% CI, 0.47-3.26). Of patients with ASPECTS 4 to 5, 19 patients (43.2%) in the EVT group and 4 (7.7%) in the no EVT group had an mRS score of 0 to 3 at 90 days (OR, 9.12; 95% CI, 2.80-29.70; interaction P = .01). The ordinal shift across the range of mRS scores toward a better outcome was not significant in those with ASPECTS or 3 or less (common OR, 1.56; 95% CI, 0.79-3.10) but was significant in those with ASPECTS 4 to 5 (common OR, 4.48; 95% CI, 2.07-9.71; interaction P = .046). The risk of intracranial hemorrhage was significantly increased in patients with ASPECTS 3 or less when EVT was conducted (OR, 4.14; 95% CI, 1.84-9.32) and nonsignificantly increased in those with ASPECTS 4 to 5 (OR, 2.05; 95% CI, 0.89-4.73; interaction P = .24).
Conclusions and relevance: In this study, EVT was associated with improved 90-day functional outcomes in patients with acute large vessel occlusive stroke and ASPECTS was 4 to 5 but not in those with ASPECTS 3 or less.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03702413.