Intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is known to improve outcomes in ischemic stroke; however, many patients may have been receiving antiplatelet therapy before acute ischemic stroke and could face an increased risk for bleeding when treated with tPA.
To assess the risks and benefits associated with prestroke antiplatelet therapy among patients with ischemic stroke who receive intravenous tPA.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This observational study used data from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association Get With the Guidelines–Stroke registry, which included 85 072 adult patients with ischemic stroke who received intravenous tPA in 1545 registry hospitals from January 1, 2009, through March 31, 2015. Data were analyzed during the same period.
Prestroke antiplatelet therapy before tPA administration for acute ischemic stroke.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (sICH), in-hospital mortality, discharge ambulatory status, and modified Rankin Scale score (range, 0 [no symptoms] to 6 [death]).
Of the 85 072 registry patients, 38 844 (45.7%) were receiving antiplatelet therapy before admission; 46 228 patients (54.3%) were not. Patients receiving antiplatelet therapy were older (median [25th-75th percentile] age, 76 [65-84] vs 68 [56-80] years) and had a higher prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors. The unadjusted rate of sICH was higher in patients receiving antiplatelet therapy (5.0% vs 3.7%). After risk adjustment, prior use of antiplatelet agents remained associated with higher odds of sICH compared with no use (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.18 [95% CI, 1.10-1.28]; absolute difference, +0.68% [95% CI, 0.36%-1.01%]; number needed to harm [NNH], 147). Among patients enrolled on October 1, 2012, or later, the highest odds (95% CIs) of sICH were found in 15 116 patients receiving aspirin alone (AOR, 1.19 [1.06- 1.34]; absolute difference [95% CI], +0.68% [0.21%-1.20%]; NNH, 147) and 2397 patients receiving dual antiplatelet treatment of aspirin and clopidogrel (AOR, 1.47 [1.16-1.86]; absolute difference, +1.67% [0.58%-3.00%]; NNH, 60). The risk for in-hospital mortality was similar between those who were and were not receiving antiplatelet therapy after adjustment (8.0% vs 6.6%; AOR, 1.00 [0.94-1.06]; nonsignificant absolute difference, −0.01% [−0.37% to 0.36%]). However, patients receiving antiplatelet therapy had a greater risk-adjusted likelihood of independent ambulation (42.1% vs 46.6%; AOR, 1.13 [1.08-1.17]; absolute difference, +2.23% [1.55%-2.92%]; number needed to treat, 43) and better functional outcomes (modified Rankin Scale score, 0-1) at discharge (24.1% vs 27.8%; AOR, 1.14; 1.07-1.22; absolute difference, +1.99% [0.78%-3.22%]; number needed to treat, 50).
Conclusions and Relevance
Among patients with an acute ischemic stroke treated with intravenous tPA, those receiving antiplatelet therapy before the stroke had a higher risk for sICH but better functional outcomes than those who were not receiving antiplatelet therapy.