Introduction: The endovascular treatment (EVT) of cerebral ischemia in the case of large vessel occlusion has been established over recent years. Randomized trials showed a positive impact on the clinical outcome of endovascular treatment in addition to thrombolysis with respect to clinical outcome and safety, so that this therapeutic option will be implemented in future guidelines. The role of EVT in patients treated with oral anticoagulants remains uncertain.
Hypothesis: We assessed the hypothesis that application of EVT is safe with regard to the occurrence of intracranial bleeding and clinical outcome in patients taking anticoagulants.
Methods: The ENDOSTROKE-Registry is a commercially independent, prospective observational study in 12 stroke centers in Germany and Austria launched in January 2011. An online tool served for data acquisition of pre-specified variables concerning endovascular stroke therapy.
Results: Data from 815 patients (median age 70, 57% male) undergoing EVT and known anticoagulation status were analyzed. A total of 85 (median age 76, 52% male) patients (10.4%) took oral anticoagulants prior to EVT. Anticoagulation status as measured with INR was 2.0-3.0 in 24 patients (29%), <2.0 in 52 patients (63%) and above 3.0 in 7 patients (8%) of 83 patients with valid INR data prior to EVT. Patients taking anticoagulants were significantly older (median age 76 vs. 69, p < 0.001). Comparing those patients taking anticoagulants and those not, there were no differences concerning NIHSS at admission (with anticoagulants Median-NIHSS 17 vs. without Median-NIHSS 15, p = 0.492, Mann Whitney Test) and the rate of intracranial hemorrhage after intervention (with anticoagulants 11.8% vs. without 12.2%, p = 0.538). After adjustment for age and NIHSS at admission there were no significant differences between the two groups with regard to good clinical outcome, as measured with the modified ranking scale (mRS, 90d-mRS 0-2, 39.2% of patients not receiving anticoagulants; 25.9% of those receiving anticoagulants).
Conclusion: The application of endovascular treatment in patients taking oral anticoagulants is safe and should be considered in acute stroke treatment as an important alternative to contraindicated intravenous thrombolysis.