The benefits and harms of intravenous thrombolysis with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator within 6 h of acute ischaemic stroke (the third international stroke trial [IST-3]): a randomised controlled trial

Peter Sandercock, Joanna M Wardlaw, Richard I Lindley, Martin Dennis, Geoff Cohen, Gordon Murray, Karen Innes, Graham Venables, Anna Czlonkowska, Adam Kobayashi, Stefano Ricci, Veronica Murray, Eivind Berge, Karsten Bruins Slot, Graeme J Hankey, Manuel Correia, Andre Peeters, Karl Matz, Phillippe Lyrer, Gord GubitzStephen J Phillips, Antonio Arauz, IST-3 collaborative group, Rustam Al-Shahi Salman, Stephanie Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background
Thrombolysis is of net benefit in patients with acute ischaemic stroke, who are younger than 80 years of age and are treated within 4·5 h of onset. The third International Stroke Trial (IST-3) sought to determine whether a wider range of patients might benefit up to 6 h from stroke onset.

Methods
In this international, multicentre, randomised, open-treatment trial, patients were allocated to 0·9 mg/kg intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) or to control. The primary analysis was of the proportion of patients alive and independent, as defined by an Oxford Handicap Score (OHS) of 0–2 at 6 months. The study is registered, ISRCTN25765518.

Findings
3035 patients were enrolled by 156 hospitals in 12 countries. All of these patients were included in the analyses (1515 in the rt-PA group vs 1520 in the control group), of whom 1617 (53%) were older than 80 years of age. At 6 months, 554 (37%) patients in the rt-PA group versus 534 (35%) in the control group were alive and independent (OHS 0–2; adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1·13, 95% CI 0·95–1·35, p=0·181; a non-significant absolute increase of 14/1000, 95% CI −20 to 48). An ordinal analysis showed a significant shift in OHS scores; common OR 1·27 (95% CI 1·10–1·47, p=0·001). Fatal or non-fatal symptomatic intracranial haemorrhage within 7 days occurred in 104 (7%) patients in the rt-PA group versus 16 (1%) in the control group (adjusted OR 6·94, 95% CI 4·07–11·8; absolute excess 58/1000, 95% CI 44–72). More deaths occurred within 7 days in the rt-PA group (163 [11%]) than in the control group (107 [7%], adjusted OR 1·60, 95% CI 1·22–2·08, p=0·001; absolute increase 37/1000, 95% CI 17–57), but between 7 days and 6 months there were fewer deaths in the rt-PA group than in the control group, so that by 6 months, similar numbers, in total, had died (408 [27%] in the rt-PA group vs 407 [27%] in the control group).

Interpretation
For the types of patient recruited in IST-3, despite the early hazards, thrombolysis within 6 h improved functional outcome. Benefit did not seem to be diminished in elderly patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2352-2363
Number of pages12
JournalThe Lancet
Volume379
Issue number9834
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

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