Visual Aids for Patient, Family, and Physician Decision Making About Endovascular Thrombectomy for Acute Ischemic Stroke

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Background and Purpose—

Rapid decision making optimizes outcomes from endovascular thrombectomy for acute cerebral ischemia. Visual displays facilitate swift review of potential outcomes and can accelerate decision processes.


From patient-level, pooled randomized trial data, 100 person-icon arrays (Kuiper–Marshall personographs) were generated showing beneficial and adverse effects of endovascular thrombectomy for patients with acute cerebral ischemia and large vessel occlusion using (1) automated (algorithmic) and (2) expert-guided joint outcome table specification.


For the full 7-category modified Rankin Scale, thrombectomy added to IV tPA (intravenous tissue-type plasminogen activator) alone had number needed to treat to benefit 2.9 (95% confidence interval, 2.6–3.3) and number needed to harm 68.9 (95% confidence interval, 40–250); thrombectomy for patients ineligible for IV tPA had number needed to treat to benefit 2.3 (95% confidence interval, 2.1–2.5) and number needed to harm 100 (95% confidence interval, 62.5–250). Visual displays of treatment effects on 100 patients showed: with thrombectomy added to IV tPA alone, 34 patients have better disability outcome, including 14 more normal or near normal (modified Rankin Scale, 0–1); with thrombectomy for patients ineligible for IV tPA, 44 patients have a better disability outcome, including 16 more normal or nearly normal. Displays also showed that harm (increased modified Rankin Scale final disability) occurred in 1 of 100 patients in both populations, mediated by increased new territory infarcts. The person-icon figures integrated these outcomes, and early side-effects, in a single display.


Visual decision aids are now available to rapidly educate healthcare providers, patients, and families about benefits and risks of endovascular thrombectomy, both when added to IV tPA in tPA-eligible patients and as the sole reperfusion treatment in tPA-ineligible patients.

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