Conference Coverage

VIDEO: Octogenarians benefit from ischemic stroke thrombectomy


 

AT THE INTERNATIONAL STROKE CONFERENCE

References

LOS ANGELES – Clot removal to recanalize the occluded intracerebral arteries of acute ischemic stroke patients was as effective for producing good outcomes in patients aged 80 years or older as it was in younger patients, according to results from a pooled analysis of 1,287 patients in five separate but similar randomized trials.

This unprecedented evidence for the safety and efficacy of thrombectomy (also known as embolectomy) in octogenarians experiencing an acute occlusive, large-vessel, proximal anterior-circulation stroke was one of several new findings from the pooled analysis that should help further push thrombectomy to the forefront of acute care for patients undergoing this type of ischemic stroke, predicted Dr. Wade S. Smith in a video interview at the International Stroke Conference.

“By looking at all the data, we have much more refined information on the robustness of the treatment across age groups, which is quite important, especially patients in the 80-plus age group,” commented Dr. Smith, professor of neurology and chief of the neurovascular division at the University of California, San Francisco.

Until now, during the year following the reports in early 2015 from all five studies, “age had been a limiting factor” in applying the practicing-changing intervention of thrombectomy to patients, he noted.

“This [the new pooled analysis] will change that,” Dr. Smith predicted. “It does not apply to patients who were infirm prior to their stroke – but for patients who were otherwise healthy, with a modified Rankin scale level of 0 or 1 at initial presentation, it appears that they benefit [from thrombectomy] regardless of their age.” In the pooled analysis, 198 of the 1,287 total patients (15%) were at least 80 years old.

“It removes age discrimination. A healthy 80-year-old may do extremely well with this treatment,” Dr. Smith said.

The consistency of benefit across a wide range of stroke severity that showed up in the trials as four distinct strata of NIH Stroke Scale scores prior to treatment was another important finding that could not previously be definitively made by analyzing each of the five trials individually.

In patients with stroke-severity scores that ranged from 10 or less (the least severely affected) to patients with scores of 21 or greater, all had post-thrombectomy improvements that clustered around the overall average number-needed-to-treat of 2.6 patients to reduce the disability of one patient at follow-up by at least one level on the modified Rankin scale.

Other notable findings from the pooled analysis were that thrombectomy also produced a consistent benefit to patients across every other subgroup examined, including sex, specific occlusion site, whether or not patients also received thrombolytic treatment with tissue plasminogen activator, and time to thrombectomy treatment (5 or fewer hours from stroke onset or more than 5 hours), reported Dr. Michael D. Hill and Dr. Tudor G. Jovin in a joint presentation at the meeting, sponsored by the American Heart Association.

Their pooled analysis, known as HERMES, pooled data from the MR CLEAN, ESCAPE, REVASCAT, SWIFT PRIME, and EXTEND IA trials, all run during 2010-2014.

“Endovascular treatment is a highly effective treatment across all subgroups,” concluded Dr. Hill and Dr. Jovin as they completed their talk. “These data may provide additional support for endovascular treatment in subgroups not addressed in the individual trials.”

Concurrent with their report at the meeting, the results appeared in a paper published online (Lancet. 2016 Feb 18;doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)00163-X).

Both Dr. Jovin and Dr. Hill shared the enthusiasm of Dr. Smith and others in the packed meeting room about the age finding.

“Older patients seemed to benefit even more” from thrombectomy, compared with younger patients, noted Dr. Jovin, chief of the stroke division at the University of Pittsburgh and a coinvestigator on SWIFT PRIME. “There is no reason to deny this treatment to appropriately selected patients based on age,” he said.

“There is no upper age limit,” agreed Dr. Hill, professor of neurology and director of the stroke unit at the University of Calgary (Alta.) and a coinvestigator on the ESCAPE trial. “If it’s an otherwise healthy 90-year-old who is living independently, you can surely consider them for this treatment.”

HERMES received fundings through an unrestricted grant from Medtronic. Dr. Hill and Dr. Jovin had no personal disclosures. Dr. Smith served on the data safety and monitoring board for a trial funded by Stryker.

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mzoler@frontlinemedcom.com

On Twitter @mitchelzoler

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