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Brief Report
April 8, 2019

Endovascular Thrombectomy as a Means to Improve Survival in Acute Ischemic Stroke: A Meta-analysis

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Cardiology, Pulmonology and Vascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • 2Department of Neurology, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • 3Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • 4Cardiovascular Research Institute Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany
JAMA Neurol. 2019;76(7):850-854. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.0525
Key Points

Question  Is there a benefit for short-term survival with endovascular thrombectomy vs medical therapy in acute ischemic stroke?

Findings  In this meta-analysis of all randomized clinical trials of endovascular thrombectomy vs medical therapy cited in the 2018 American Stroke Association/American Heart Association guidelines for acute ischemic stroke, endovascular thrombectomy significantly reduced the risk for 90-day mortality compared with medical therapy, without a difference in risk of intracranial hemorrhage.

Meaning  There is considerable evidence of the benefits of endovascular thrombectomy for survival during the first 90 days after acute ischemic stroke.

Abstract

Importance  Although endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) in acute ischemic stroke is recommended by guidelines to improve functional recovery, thus far there are insufficient data on its association with mortality.

Objective  To identify guideline-relevant trials of EVT vs medical therapy reporting 90-day mortality and perform a meta-analysis.

Data Sources  All randomized clinical trials cited for recommendations on EVT vs medical therapy in the latest 2018 American Stroke Association/American Heart Association guidelines.

Study Selection  Ten American Stroke Association/American Heart Association guideline–relevant randomized clinical trials of EVT vs medical therapy were selected for inclusion. Two EVT trials were excluded owing to infrequent use of EVT.

Data Extraction and Synthesis  Data were abstracted by 2 independent investigators and double-checked by 4 others. Singular study data were integrated using the Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel method and a random-effects model to compute summary statistics of risk ratios (RR) with 95% CIs.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Risk of 90-day mortality and 90-day intracranial hemorrhage was analyzed; sensitivity analyses were performed in early-window EVT trials (which included patients from the onset of symptoms onward) vs late-window EVT trials (which included patients from 6 hours after onset of symptoms onward).

Results  In 10 trials with 2313 patients, EVT significantly reduced the risk for 90-day mortality by 3.7% compared with medical therapy (15.0% vs 18.7%; RR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.68-0.98; P = .03). Trends were similar in early-window (RR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.67-1.01; P = .06) and late-window trials only (RR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.41-1.40; P = .38). There was no difference in the risk for intracranial hemorrhage in EVT vs medical therapy (4.2% vs 4.0%; RR, 1.11; 95% CI, 0.71-1.72; P = .65). Limitations of the studies include trial protocol heterogeneity and bias originating from prematurely terminated trials.

Conclusions and Relevance  This meta-analysis of all evidence on EVT cited in the 2018 American Stroke Association/American Heart Association guidelines shows significant benefits for survival during the first 90 days after acute ischemic stroke compared with medical therapy alone.

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