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Ayush Agarwal, MD, DM, DNB
The management of acute ischemic stroke continues to progress, and there is a shift towards ‘tissue window’ from the traditional ‘time window.’ Recent trials have demonstrated that thrombolysis can safely be done out of the traditional time window based on careful patient selection using advanced imaging techniques including brain MRI and CT-perfusion (1,2). Although, traditionally, alteplase has been the mainstay of treatment, tenecteplase usage is rapidly gaining ground based on ease of administration and higher fibrin specificity. It has not only been proven non-inferior, but also better at lysing large vessel clots (when compared to alteplase) (3). The advent of mobile stroke units with CT scanners and point-of-care laboratory support has further reduced door-to-needle times and led to even better stroke outcomes (4,5).
Ericka Samantha Teleg, MD
Kuramatsu JB, Gerner ST, Ziai WC, Bardutzky J, Sembill JA, Sprügel MI, Mrochen A, Kölbl K, Ram M, Avadhani R, et al. Association of Intraventricular Fibrinolysis With Clinical Outcomes in ICH: An Individual Participant Data Meta-Analysis. Stroke. 2022.
This meta-analysis examines the utilization of intraventricular fibrinolysis (IVF) and its impact on clinical outcomes in intracerebral hemorrhage. Despite several studies showing intraventricular clot resolution and safety among an intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) population with a small hematoma volume but larger intraventricular hemorrhage volumes, the primary efficacy analyses for functional outcomes were neutral. Thus, tailoring clinical selection of patients that may benefit from IVF may determine functional benefit.
The statistical method that the authors have utilized to summarize data from several trials and observational data is crucial, as this kind of method used in meta-analysis preserves the clustering of the cohorts of patients from the different studies. This method also allows a large sample to be studied. This is the strength of the data and its results. The Individual Participant Data meta-analysis included 9 studies. The IPD set was compiled and analyzed in an academic center, University Hospital Erlangen in Germany. The eligibility for IPD inclusion included the following: (1) supratentorial primary ICH or IVH with IVH causing acute hydrocephalus treated with an external ventricular drainage (EVD); (2) patients aged >18 years; (3) pre-morbid modified Rankin Scale (mRS) < 3; (4) >10 patients treated with IVF within each study framework; (5) no evidence of early care limitations or death within 48 hours after admission; (6) no evidence of secondary ICH-etiologies; (7) no other competing treatment intervention; (8) use of validated imaging methods; (9) standardized scoring of neurological status; (10) availability of standardized functional outcome assessed by the mRS.
Dixon Yang, MD
Paciaroni M, Caso V, Agnelli G, Mosconi MG, Giustozzi M, Seiffge DJ, Engelter ST, Lyrer P, Polymeris AA, Kriemler L, et al. Recurrent Ischemic Stroke and Bleeding in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation Who Suffered an Acute Stroke While on Treatment With Nonvitamin K Antagonist Oral Anticoagulants: The RENO-EXTEND Study. Stroke. 2022.
Though non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) are the gold standard for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation (AF) in absence of significant mitral stenosis or mechanical heart valve, a small proportion (1.4% per year) of residual risk for ischemic stroke remains based on pooled statistics from randomized control trials. Some observation studies report a residual annual risk as high as 10%. Therefore, Dr. Maurizio Paciaroni and authors sought to estimate the rates of ischemic and bleeding events after an acute ischemic stroke in patient with AF while on NOAC treatment and investigate predictive factors in those events, especially in the context of antiplatelet/anticoagulation strategies.
The study involved a multicenter observational cohort, which included consecutive acute ischemic stroke patients with AF who were taking NOAC at the time of event and adherent to NOAC therapy. Patients were enrolled and data collected prospectively from 43 centers across the United States and Europe. Investigators recorded NOAC doses and any reasons for reduced dosing. The study considered reduced NOAC dosing off-label in the absence of the recommended clinical and laboratory criteria for dose reduction. Participants were followed for at least 1 year. The study’s primary outcome was composite recurrent ischemic stroke, systemic embolism, intracranial bleeding, and major extracranial bleeding. The authors compared risk of outcome event between those who had their anticoagulant changed versus those who kept the same anticoagulation after index event.
Wern Yew Ding, MBChB
Freeman JV, Higgins AY, Wang Y, Du C, Friedman DJ, Daimee UA, Minges KE, Pereira L, Goldsweig AM, Price MJ, et al. Antithrombotic Therapy After Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022;79:1785-1798.
Patients with atrial fibrillation are at an increased risk of thromboembolic complications, particularly from clot arising in the left atrial appendage. Therefore, percutaneous left atrial appendage occlusion (LAAO) lowers the risk of stroke by mechanically excluding the left atrial appendage from the systemic circulation. Nonetheless, the optimal antithrombotic regime post-device implantation remains ill-defined.
In this study, Freeman and colleagues studied the deviations from full post-procedure treatment protocols in clinical practice compared to pivotal LAAO trials, and evaluated the impact of different antithrombotic treatment patterns on the risk of adverse events. The authors utilized data from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry LAAO Registry, which serves as a formal post-market surveillance vehicle required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the Watchman device. As of April 2016, U.S. hospitals were required to submit data for all Watchman procedures to the LAAO Registry to qualify for Medicare reimbursement.
Dixon Yang, MD
No, ”glocal” isn’t a typo. In the 2021 William Feinberg Award Lecture given at the International Stroke Conference of the same year, Dr. Bruce Ovbiagele discussed inequities in stroke burden among Black individuals in the United States and sub-Saharan Africa, opening with the term “glocal.” A portmanteau of global and local, glocal is an encompassing term that refers to consideration of issues on both a global and local scale in a highly interconnected manner. Often used in political or business realms, Dr. Ovbiagele brought the term to the forefront in thinking about how to best address stroke disparities.
Locally in the United States, it is well known that Black individuals experience higher stroke incidence and mortality than other race and ethnic groups. While stroke mortality in the United States has been improving, including among Black individuals, the mortality inequities have not objectively diminished. Conversely, projections suggest a further widening of the Black-White stroke prevalence gap in the next decade despite better risk factor control. A more nuanced approach to assessing vascular risk factors (i.e., differential impact by race and ethnic group, or temporal factors like duration and fluctuations of risk factors) may be needed. Furthermore, psychosocial, socioeconomic, and neighborhood level factors are increasingly recognized as potential risk factors in stroke disparity. In addition to studying risk factors, Dr. Ovbiagele urged identification of strategies in reducing stroke disparities, discussing his own local randomized trial testing efficacy of Bluetooth-enabled pill trays with reminders and BP monitoring among stroke survivors, half of whom are Black individuals.
Ammad Mahmood, MBChB, BMedSci
A joint symposium between ESO and ESMINT discussed the challenges faced in acute reperfusion therapies, including patient selection and therapeutic targets.
Endovascular thrombectomy for mid-sized artery occlusions – Raul Nogueira
The importance of IV thrombolysis (IVT) therapy in this patient population was highlighted, and what constitutes mid-sized arteries considered. The anatomical variation of the M2 segment of the MCA makes this definition critical — there is generally agreement on EVT for clots in the proximal portion of larger M2 vessels. The terminology of DMVO — distal medium vessel occlusions — separates proximal dominant M2 occlusions from non-dominant M2 occlusions, as well as M3, ACA, and PCA territories. The literature suggests DMVOs cause 25-40% of acute ischemic stroke either as the primary finding or a secondary embolization complicating mechanical thrombectomy. Although IVT for this population is advocated, only half achieve reperfusion and around 25-33% have functional independence after DMVO stroke, highlighting the room for improvement potentially with EVT. Registry data showed DMVO stroke had moderately high baseline NIHSS with similar rates of reperfusion and complication with EVT compared with more proximal occlusions and up to two-thirds of patients achieving functional independence at 90 days. Patient selection in DMVO stroke needs to take into consideration many factors, including correlation of imaging and clinical findings to determine the eloquence of the area of brain involved, as well as technical considerations of the EVT procedure, such as tortuosity of the vessel, which can making procedures higher risk.
Aurora Semerano, MD
European Stroke Organisation Conference
May 4-6, 2022
Among other themes, this year ESOC has represented a unique opportunity to discuss cancer-related stroke in a dedicated Scientific Session titled “Stroke, thrombosis and cancer,” chaired by Blanca Fuentes (Spain) and Leo Bonati (Switzerland).
Indeed, cancer is recently emerging as a risk factor for arterial thromboembolism, including stroke. Among ischemic stroke patients, comorbid cancer is a devastating condition associated with increased stroke severity, disability, and mortality. Importantly, the optimal strategies to prevent and acutely treat stroke in cancer patients are yet to be established, with high recurrence rates despite antithrombotic therapies, and there are currently limited resources to assist stroke clinicians in the specific management of cancer patients.
Tolga D Dittrich, MD
European Stroke Organisation Conference
May 4-6, 2022
The session chaired by William Whiteley (UK) and Iris Grundwald (UK) focused on current applications and possible future areas of utilization of artificial intelligence (AI) in the field of stroke.
Helle Collatz Christensen from Denmark gave the opening lecture on early stroke detection in the emergency setting. Since experience has shown that emergency medical services do not always correctly recognize a relevant proportion of stroke symptoms at an early stage, the question for Professor Christensen was how to improve stroke recognition. “AI can help us,” Christensen said. Christensen and his team collected telephone contacts between emergency callers and the dispatcher. Based on this data, an AI algorithm was developed that analyzes conversations for stroke suspicious patterns to identify suspected stroke cases early and inform the dispatcher. Existing data on AI recognition of cardiac arrest is already promising. However, Christensen sees one of the challenges in that stroke is different from cardiac arrest due to various possible symptoms.