BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: We hypothesize that in acute middle cerebral artery stroke, thrombus lengths measured in thin-slice nonenhanced CT images define a limit beyond which systemic thrombolysis will fail to recanalize occluded arteries.
METHODS: In 138 patients who presented with acute middle cerebral artery stroke and who were treated with intravenous thrombolysis (IVT), we measured lengths of thrombotic clots depicted as arterial hyperdensities in admission nonenhanced CT images with 2.5-mm slice width. Vascular recanalization was investigated after thrombolysis and recanalization results were related to thrombus lengths by logistic regression.
RESULTS: In 62 patients, IVT resulted in recanalization; among these patients, no thrombus length exceeded 8 mm. The median modified Rankin scale score at hospital discharge was 2. In the remaining 76 patients, thrombus lengths mostly exceeded 8 mm and IVT failed in recanalization. These patients were discharged with a median modified Rankin scale score of 5.
CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that in acute middle cerebral artery stroke, IVT has nearly no potential to recanalize occluded vessels if thrombus length exceeds 8 mm.
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