Background: Minor stroke/TIA is the most common cause for thrombolysis exclusion in patients acutely presenting to the hospital. Thrombolysis administration in this subgroup is highly variable amongst different clinicians and institutions. We aim to study the predictors of thrombolysis in patients with mild ischemic stroke in the FL-PR CReSD Study.
Methods: 73,712 patients with ischemic stroke/TIA were prospectively enrolled from January 2010 to April 2015. We included 7,746 patients who had persistent neurological symptoms with NIHSS score ≤5 and arrived within 4 hours of symptom onset. Multilevel logistic regression analysis was used to identify independent predictors of thrombolysis in the subgroup of patients without contraindications to thrombolysis
Results: 6,826 patients (25% final diagnosis TIA, 75% minor stroke) were included (mean age=70±14 years), 52.7% male, 70.3% white, 13% black, 16.7% Hispanic, median NIHSS=2 (IQR=1,4). Patients who received thrombolysis (N=1281, 18.7%) were younger (67 vs. 70.7 years, P<0.001), had less vascular risk factors (HTN, DM, dyslipidemia), lower risk of prior vascular disease (MI, PVD, previous stroke) and had a higher presenting median NIHSS score (4 vs. 2, P<0.0001). In the multivariable analysis, younger age (OR 1.02, 95% CI 1.02-1.03, P<0.0001), white or Hispanic vs. black (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.04-1.37, P=0.0097), early hospital arrival (unit change in 30 min.) (OR 1.26, 95% CI 1.21-1.31, P<0.0001), arrival by EMS (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.08-1.49, P<0.0001), higher NIHSS score (OR 1.96, 95% CI 1.87-2.06, P<0.0001), altered level of consciousness (OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.11-1.85, P=0.0062) and aphasia at presentation (OR 1.34, 95% CI 1.13-1.58, P=0.0008) were independent predictors of thrombolysis administration.
Conclusion: Minor acutely presenting stroke patients were more likely to receive thrombolysis if they were young, white or Hispanic, and arrived early to the hospital with more severe neurological presentation specifically aphasia and altered level of consciousness. Identification of predictors of thrombolysis utilization is important in the design of educational programs and randomized trials to increase the use of thrombolysis for minor stroke.