OBJECTIVE To evaluate the effect of IV recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) in patients with hyperdense artery sign (HAS) on initial CT scan. METHODS The authors determined the differential effect of IV rt-PA (0.9 mg/kg) in patients with HAS by testing the interaction of rt-PA and HAS in a logistic regression model after adjusting for age, sex, initial NIH Stroke Scale score (NIHSSS), time to randomization, systolic blood pressure, serum glucose, body temperature, and rt-PA in 616 patients treated within 3 hours of symptom onset. Outcomes evaluated included intracranial hemorrhage, modified Rankin scale (mRS) 0-1, Barthel Index (BI) of > or = 95, Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) of 0-1, NIHSSS 0-1, and death at 90 days. RESULTS HAS was detected on the initial CT scan in 91 (15%) of the 616 patients by an independent neuroradiologist. Significantly lower rates of mRS 0-1, BI > or = 95, GOS of 0-1, or NIHSSS 0-1 at 90 days were observed among patients with HAS. IV rt-PA significantly increased the rates of mRS 0-1, BI > or = 95, GOS of 0-1, or NIHSSS 0-1 at 90 days after adjusting for potential confounders without any significant modifying effect (interaction) of HAS. Among the 91 patients with HAS, rt-PA use demonstrated a trend or significance for increased adjusted rates of favorable outcomes by mRS (p = 0.04), BI (p = 0.1), GOS (p = 0.03), and NIHSSS (p = 0.01). CONCLUSION Although hyperdense artery sign is associated with poor outcome, IV recombinant tissue plasminogen activator may be beneficial in this subgroup of patients with ischemic stroke.
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