To perform a systematic review and pooled meta-analysis of published studies to assess whether the presence of leukoaraiosis on neuroimaging before treatment with thrombolysis (IV or intra-arterial) is associated with an increased risk of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH) or poor functional outcome.Methods:
We included studies of patients with acute ischemic stroke, treated with IV or intra-arterial thrombolysis, which assessed functional outcome (3-month modified Rankin Scale [mRS]) or sICH in relation to leukoaraiosis on pretreatment neuroimaging (CT or MRI). We used random-effects models to calculate pooled relative risks (RR) of sICH and poor functional outcome (mRS ≥ 2) for any vs no leukoaraiosis (using any rating scale) and for no to mild vs moderate to severe leukoaraiosis (using the Van Swieten or Fazekas Schmidt scale).Results:
We identified 15 studies (total n = 6,967). For sICH outcome, the RR was 1.65 (n = 5,551; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.26–2.16, p = 0.001) with an absolute risk (AR) increase of 2.5% for any leukoaraiosis vs none. The RR was 2.4 (n = 4,192; 95% CI 1.83–3.14, p = 0.001) with an AR increase of 6.2% for moderate to severe vs no to mild leukoaraiosis. For poor functional outcome; the RR was 1.30 (n = 3,401; 95% CI 1.19–1.42, p = 0.001) with an AR increase of 15.4% for any leukoaraiosis vs none. The RR was 1.31 (n = 3,659; 95% CI 1.22–1.42, p = 0.001) with an AR increase of 17.5% for moderate to severe vs no to mild leukoaraiosis. No statistical heterogeneity was noted for any of the analyses.Conclusions:
Leukoaraiosis presence and severity are consistently associated with an increased risk of sICH and poor functional outcome after IV or intra-arterial thrombolysis for acute ischemic stroke.