BACKGROUND: To assess the differences across continental regions in terms of stroke imaging obtained for making acute revascularization therapy decisions, and to identify obstacles to participating in randomized trials involving multimodal imaging.
METHODS: STroke Imaging Repository (STIR) and Virtual International Stroke Trials Archive (VISTA)-Imaging circulated an online survey through its website, through the websites of national professional societies from multiple countries as well as through email distribution lists from STIR and the above mentioned societies.
RESULTS: We received responses from 223 centers (2 from Africa, 38 from Asia, 10 from Australia, 101 from Europe, 4 from Middle East, 55 from North America, 13 from South America). In combination, the sites surveyed administered acute revascularization therapy to a total of 25,326 acute stroke patients in 2012. Seventy-three percent of these patients received intravenous (i.v.) tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), and 27%, endovascular therapy. Vascular imaging was routinely obtained in 79% (152/193) of sites for endovascular therapy decisions, and also as part of standard IV tPA treatment decisions at 46% (92/198) of sites. Modality, availability and use of acute vascular and perfusion imaging before revascularization varied substantially between geographical areas. The main obstacles to participate in randomized trials involving multimodal imaging included: mainly insufficient research support and staff (50%, 79/158) and infrequent use of multimodal imaging (27%, 43/158) .
CONCLUSION: There were significant variations among sites and geographical areas in terms of stroke imaging work-up used tomake decisions both for intravenous and endovascular revascularization. Clinical trials using advanced imaging as a selection tool for acute revascularization therapy should address the need for additional resources and technical support, and take into consideration the lack of routine use of such techniques in trial planning.