Background: Acute ischemic stroke (AIS) due to proximal carotid artery occlusion (pCAO) can be associated with significant neurological deficits and poor outcome without timely intervention and successful reperfusion. Intravenous thrombolytics (IT) have low recanalization rates in pCAO and these patients were excluded from recent randomized controlled trials which showed superiority of endovascular therapy (EVT) over IT.
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate clinical outcomes in AIS due to pCAO treated with medical vs. endovascular treatment.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of patients who underwent IT or EVT±IT for all types of pCAO from January 2008 to June 2015. Our primary outcome was the functional outcome at discharge measured by modified Rankin score (mRS) 0-3. The secondary outcomes were hemorrhagic transformation (HT), neurological worsening (NW), symptomatic hemorrhage (sICH) and death. Logistic regression analysis was used to compare outcomes between the two groups.
Results: A total of 133 patients were included in the study. Baseline characteristics are depicted in table 1. There were no significant differences between the two groups. IV tPA was given in 56% IT vs. 72% EVT (p=0.14). While there was a shift towards better outcomes in the mRS distribution in EVT group (22% vs. 16%) as shown in Figure 1, the treatment effect did not reach significance (OR 1.71, 95% CI (0.55, 5.34), p=0.35). There was also no difference in HT (26% vs. 14%, p=0.14), or NW (26% vs. 21%, p=0.6). However, sICH was higher in EVT (3.7% vs. 0%, p=0.2).
Conclusion: Our study did not show difference in discharge functional outcomes between EVT and IT in AIS with pCAO. Our results are limited by small sample size and retrospective nature. Future prospective studies randomizing patients to medical vs. endovascular treatments are warranted to guide management.