Introduction: Data are scarce regarding the outcomes of acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients treated with intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) within 60 min from symptom onset, termed the “golden hour” (GH) window. We present systematic review and meta-analysis of outcomes between AIS patients treated within (+) and outside (-) the GH.
Methods: We performed a systematic review in MEDLINE and SCOPUS databases for observational studies providing unadjusted rates or adjusted odds ratios (OR) for the following outcomes: symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (sICH), mortality and favourable functional outcome (FFO), defined as mRS-scores of 0-1.
Results: We identified 3 eligible studies (range of median NIHSS-scores: 10-11 points), including a total of 72,662 IVT-treated patients (1.5% treated within the GH. GH(+) patients had higher FFO rates (42%, 95%CI:35%-48%) compared to GH(-) patients (31%, 95%CI:30%-31%). In adjusted analyses, IVT within the GH was associated with a two-fold increase in the odds of FFO (OR=2.02, 95%CI: 1.55-2.63, p<0.001) without heterogeneity across studies (I2=0, p for Cochran Q=0.93; Figure). No significant differences on the risk of both sICH (OR=0.77, 95%CI: 0.53-1.13, p=0.180; I2=0, p for Cochran Q=0.63) and mortality (OR=0.61, 95%CI: 0.29-1.28, p=0.190; I2=72, p for Cochran Q=0.03) were documented between the two groups in adjusted analyses.
Conclusions: AIS treated within the GH have substantially higher odds of FFO compared to IVT administered later during conventional time window independent of potential confounders. Improvement of care systems to achieve the earliest onset to treatment times should remain the goal of the front line stroke treatment.