Permeable Thrombi Are Associated With Higher Intravenous Recombinant Tissue-Type Plasminogen Activator Treatment Success in Patients With Acute Ischemic Stroke

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Background and Purpose—

Preclinical studies showed that thrombus permeability improves recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator (r-tPA) efficacy. We hypothesize that thrombus permeability estimated from radiological imaging is associated with improved recanalization after treatment with intravenously administered r-tPA (r-tPA) and with better functional outcome.


We assessed thrombus attenuation increase (TAI) in patients from the Dutch Acute Stroke Study with an occlusion of an intracranial artery on computed tomographic angiography. Patients were included within 9 hours after the stroke onset. After dichotomization of TAI as pervious or impervious, logistic regressions analyses were performed to estimate associations of intravenous r-tPA therapy with complete recanalization and with favorable functional outcome (modified Rankin Scale score of ≤2).


Three hundred eight patients matched the inclusion criteria. The median TAI was 20.1 (interquartile range, 8.5–37.8) Hounsfield unit (HU). We found a significant increase in the odds of complete recanalization with increasing TAI for patients treated with intravenous r-tPA (P=0.030). One hundred thirty-one (42%) thrombi were classified as pervious with TAI of ≥23 HU. In patients with a pervious thrombus, complete recanalization was more frequent after treatment with intravenous r-tPA than after conservative treatment (odds ratio, 6.26; 95% confidence interval, 2.4–16.8; P<0.001). In patients with an impervious thrombus, the effect of intravenous r-tPA was not significant (odds ratio, 1.4; 95% confidence interval, 0.5–4.1; P=0.47). Favorable outcome was more common in patients with a pervious thrombi than without (odds ratio, 2.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.3–3.4; P=0.001).


Thrombus perviousness, as measured on computed tomography in the acute stage of ischemic stroke, is strongly associated with recanalization after intravenous r-tPA treatment and with favorable functional outcome.

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