Background: Intravenous tPA (IV tPA) has been the mainstay for reperfusion therapies for acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients for 2 decades. Many contraindications from the initial NINDS trial were derived from experts’ consensus and not tested in the trial. Many AIS patients present with thrombocytopenia (< 100,000) and may be excluded from treatment in spite of lack of strong evidence. Some clinicians opt to treat these patients weighing the benefits and risks along with the lack of strong evidence behind this exclusion. We sought to evaluate the safety in AIS patients with low platelets receiving IV tPA as compared to those who do not.
Methods: Restrospective chart review of all patients presenting with AIS between 1/2006 to 7/2016 at our center. We analyzed patients who had platelets <100,000 among this cohort and stratified them into those who were treated with IV tPA and those who received antiplatelet therapy only. Demographic data, medical history, medications, presence of sICH after treatment, presenting NIHSS were collected. Two sample Wilcoxon rank sum test was used to compare continuous variables between the two groups, and chi-square test or Fisher’s exact test used to compare categorical variables.
Results: 21 patients were treated with IV tPA while 122 patients were treated with antiplatelets. Table 1 lists the demographic variables of the two groups with and without IV tPA. Patients included had moderate thrombocytopenia with very few <50,000. No significant differences were found in presenting NIHSS, race, gender, and history of atrial fibrillation between the two groups except platelets (p=0.0128), age (p=0.0462) and glucose (p=0.0279). Table 2 lists the outcome variables of mRS and symptomatic ICH. There was no petechial or sICH among 21 treated patients.
Conclusion: While limited by small numbers and lack of randomization, our data suggest that IV tPA is safe in patients with moderately reduced platelet counts.