Treatment and Outcome of Hemorrhagic Transformation After Intravenous Alteplase in Acute Ischemic Stroke: A Scientific Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association

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Symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (sICH) is the most feared complication of intravenous thrombolytic therapy in acute ischemic stroke. Treatment of sICH is based on expert opinion and small case series, with the efficacy of such treatments not well established. This document aims to provide an overview of sICH with a focus on pathophysiology and treatment.


A literature review was performed for randomized trials, prospective and retrospective studies, opinion papers, case series, and case reports on the definitions, epidemiology, risk factors, pathophysiology, treatment, and outcome of sICH. The document sections were divided among writing group members who performed the literature review, summarized the literature, and provided suggestions on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with sICH caused by systemic thrombolysis with alteplase. Several drafts were circulated among writing group members until a consensus was achieved.


sICH is an uncommon but severe complication of systemic thrombolysis in acute ischemic stroke. Prompt diagnosis and early correction of the coagulopathy after alteplase have remained the mainstay of treatment. Further research is required to establish treatments aimed at maintaining integrity of the blood-brain barrier in acute ischemic stroke based on inhibition of the underlying biochemical processes.

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