Endovascular thrombectomy with or without thrombolysis bridging in patients with acute ischaemic stroke: protocol for a systematic review, meta-analysis of randomised trials and cost-effectiveness analysis

BMJ Open. 2023 Jun 12;13(6):e064322. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-064322.


Introduction: Current published guidelines and meta-analyses comparing endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) alone versus EVT with bridging intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) suggest that EVT alone is non-inferior to EVT with bridging thrombolysis in achieving favourable functional outcome. Because of this controversy, we aimed to systematically update the evidence and meta-analyse data from randomised trials comparing EVT alone versus EVT with bridging thrombolysis, and performed an economic evaluation comparing both strategies.

Methods and analysis: We will conduct a systematic review of randomised controlled trials comparing EVT with or without bridging thrombolysis in patients presenting with large vessel occlusions. We will identify eligible studies by systematically searching the following databases from inception without any language restrictions: MEDLINE (through Ovid), Embase and the Cochrane Library. The following criteria will be used to assess eligibility for inclusion: (1) adult patients ≥18 years old; (2) randomised patients to EVT alone or to EVT with IVT; and (3) measured outcomes, including functional outcomes, at least 90 days after randomisation. Pairs of reviewers will independently screen the identified articles, extract information and assess the risk of bias of eligible studies. We will use the Cochrane Risk-of-Bias tool to evaluate risk of bias. We will also use the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach to assess the certainty in evidence for each outcome. We will then perform an economic evaluation based on the extracted data.

Ethics and dissemination: This systematic review will not require a research ethics approval because no confidential patient data will be used. We will disseminate our findings by publishing the results in a peer-reviewed journal and via presentation at conferences.

Prospero registration number: CRD42022315608.


MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Ischemia*
  • Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Stroke*
  • Stroke*
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic
  • Thrombectomy
  • Thrombolytic Therapy