Importance: There is substantial controversy with regards to the adequacy and use of noncontrast head computed tomography (NCCT) for late-window acute ischemic stroke in selecting candidates for mechanical thrombectomy.
Objective: To assess clinical outcomes of patients with acute ischemic stroke presenting in the late window who underwent mechanical thrombectomy stratified by NCCT admission in comparison with selection by CT perfusion (CTP) and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI).
Design, setting, and participants: In this multicenter retrospective cohort study, prospectively maintained Stroke Thrombectomy and Aneurysm (STAR) database was used by selecting patients within the late window of acute ischemic stroke and emergent large vessel occlusion from 2013 to 2021. Patients were selected by NCCT, CTP, and DWI. Admission Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score (ASPECTS) as well as confounding variables were adjusted. Follow-up duration was 90 days. Data were analyzed from November 2021 to March 2022.
Exposures: Selection by NCCT, CTP, or DWI.
Main outcomes and measures: Primary outcome was functional independence (modified Rankin scale 0-2) at 90 days.
Results: Among 3356 patients, 733 underwent late-window mechanical thrombectomy. The median (IQR) age was 69 (58-80) years, 392 (53.5%) were female, and 449 (65.1%) were White. A total of 419 were selected with NCCT, 280 with CTP, and 34 with DWI. Mean (IQR) admission ASPECTS were comparable among groups (NCCT, 8 [7-9]; CTP, 8 [7-9]; DWI 8, [7-9]; P = .37). There was no difference in the 90-day rate of functional independence (aOR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.59-1.71; P = .99) after adjusting for confounders. Symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (NCCT, 34 [8.6%]; CTP, 37 [13.5%]; DWI, 3 [9.1%]; P = .12) and mortality (NCCT, 78 [27.4%]; CTP, 38 [21.1%]; DWI, 7 [29.2%]; P = .29) were similar among groups.
Conclusions and relevance: In this cohort study, comparable outcomes were observed in patients in the late window irrespective of neuroimaging selection criteria. Admission NCCT scan may triage emergent large vessel occlusion in the late window.