International Stroke Conference
February 6–8, 2019
Robert W. Regenhardt, MD, PhD
Moderators: Jean Claude Baron, Andrew Demchuk
The first talk, by Nerses Sanossian, was titled “Neuro-protection in the Pre-hospital Setting.” Sanossian began by introducing the ischemic cascade in which there are rapid changes over minutes to hours (O2 depletion, energy failure, terminal depolarization, ion homeostasis failure), secondary changes over minutes to days (excitotoxicity, SD-like depolarizations, disturbance of ion homeostasis), and delayed changes over days to weeks (inflammation, apoptosis). While no neuro-protective agent has proven successful in phase 3 clinical trials, he asserts that these agents still hold promise. Reconsideration of mechanistic targets is important as there has been a shift in treatment paradigm with thrombectomy now the priority for LVO strokes. As these patients are collected from locations of symptom onset, transported to thrombectomy capable hospitals, and admitted for acute care, when is the best time to offer a neuro-protective agent? Future trials must balance the timing against the cost. An agent could be administered pre-hospital, post-arrival/pre-imaging, post-tPA, pre/during transfer if needed, pre-thrombectomy, or post-thrombectomy. There are unique considerations for each timepoint. In the pre-hospital setting, consent can be difficult, there is no imaging available, agents should be safe in ICH, have no interaction with tPA, easily stored in ambulances, administration should be easy (avoid pumps and compounding), agents should be effective despite fewer patients recanalizing, and have robust experimental data at early time points. In-hospital initiation allows standard consent, imaging is available (could tailor agent to stroke subtype), pharmacies can store and dispense agents, agents can be combined with recanalization (improved delivery to target tissue and opportunity for targeting reperfusion injury and hemorrhagic transformation), and patients can be more carefully selected after imaging for those most likely to benefit.