Direct Mechanical Thrombectomy Versus Prior Bridging Intravenous Thrombolysis in Acute Ischemic Stroke: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Zahra Kolahchi, Nasrin Rahimian, Sara Momtazmanesh, Anahid Hamidianjahromi, Shima Shahjouei, Ashkan Mowla

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: The current guideline recommends using an intravenous tissue-type plasminogen activator (IV tPA) prior to mechanical thrombectomy (MT) in eligible acute ischemic stroke (AIS) with emergent large vessel occlusion (ELVO). Some recent studies found no significant differences in the long-term functional outcomes between bridging therapy (BT, i.e., IV tPA prior to MT) and direct MT (dMT). Methods: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to compare the safety and functional outcomes between BT and dMT in AIS patients with ELVO who were eligible for IV tPA administration. Based on the ELVO location, patients were categorized as the anterior group (occlusion of the anterior circulation), or the combined group (occlusion of the anterior and/or posterior circulation). A subgroup analysis was performed based on the study type, i.e., RCT and non-RCT. Results: Thirteen studies (3985 patients) matched the eligibility criteria. Comparing the BT and dMT groups, no significant differences in terms of mortality and good functional outcome were observed at 90 days. Symptomatic intracranial hemorrhagic (sICH) events were more frequent in BT patients in the combined group (OR = 0.73, p = 0.02); this result remained significant only in the non-RCT subgroup (OR = 0.67, p = 0.03). The RCT subgroup had a significantly higher rate of successful revascularization in BT patients (OR = 0.73, p = 0.02). Conclusions: Our meta-analysis uncovered no significant differences in functional outcome and mortality rate at 90 days between dMT and BT in patients with AIS who had ELVO. Although BT performed better in terms of successful recanalization rate, there is a risk of increased sICH rate in this group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number185
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • acute ischemic stroke
  • bridging therapy
  • intravenous thrombolysis
  • mechanical thrombectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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