Support for Thrombolytic Therapy for Acute Stroke Patients on Direct Oral Anticoagulants: Mortality and Bleeding Complications

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Abstract

Background: Alteplase (tPA) is the initial treatment for acute ischemic stroke. Current tPA guidelines exclude patients who took direct oral anticoagulants (DOAC) within the prior 48 hours. In this propensity-matched retrospective study we compared acute ischemic stroke patients treated with tPA who had received DOACs within 48 hours of thrombolysis to those not previously treated with DOACs, regarding three outcomes: mortality; intracranial hemorrhage (ICH); and need for acute blood transfusions (as a marker of significant blood loss). Methods: Using the United States cohort of 54 healthcare organizations in the TriNetx database, we identified 8,582 stroke patients treated with tPA on DOACs within 48 hours of thrombolysis and 46,703 stroke patients treated with tPA not on DOACs since January 1, 2012. We performed propensity score matching on demographic information and seven prior clinical diagnostic groups, resulting in a total of 17,164 acute stroke patients evenly matched between groups. We recorded mortality rates, frequency of ICH, and need for blood transfusions for each group over the ensuing 7- and 30-day periods. Results: Patients treated with tPA on DOACs had reduced mortality (3.3% vs 7.3%; risk ratio [RR] 0.456; P < 0.001), fewer ICHs (6.8% vs 10.1%; RR 0.678; P < 0.001), and less risk of major bleeding as measured by frequency of blood transfusions (0.5% vs 1.5%; RR 0.317; p < 0.001) at 7 days post thrombolytic, than the tPA patients not on DOACS. Findings for 30 days post-thrombolytics were similar/statistically significant with lower mortality rate (7.2% vs 13.1%; RR 0.550; P < 0.001), fewer ICHs (7.6% vs 10.8%; RR 0.705; P < 0.001), and fewer blood transfusions (0.9% vs 2.0%; RR 0.448; P < 0.001). Conclusion: Acute ischemic stroke patients treated with tPA who received DOACs within 48 hours of thrombolysis had lower mortality rates, reduced incidence of ICH, and less blood loss than those not on DOACs. Our study suggests that prior use of DOACs should not be a contraindication to thrombolysis for ischemic stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-406
Number of pages8
JournalWestern Journal of Emergency Medicine
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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