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Original research
Pre-thrombectomy intravenous thrombolytics are associated with increased hospital bills without improved outcomes compared with mechanical thrombectomy alone


Objective To investigate whether significant differences exist in hospital bills and patient outcomes between patients who undergo endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) alone and those who undergo EVT with pretreatment intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV tPA).

Methods We retrospectively grouped patients in an EVT database into those who underwent EVT alone and those who underwent EVT with pretreatment IV tPA (EVT+IV tPA). Hospital encounter charges (obtained via the hospital’s charge capture process), final patient bills (ie, negotiated final bills as per insurance/Medicare rates), demographic information, existing comorbidities, admission and discharge National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score, and functional independence data (modified Rankin Scale score 0–2) were collected. Univariate and multivariate statistical analyses were performed.

Results Of a total of 254 patients, 96 (37.8%) underwent EVT+IV tPA. Median NIHSS score at admission was significantly higher in the EVT+IV tPA group than in the EVT group (p=0.006). After adjusting for NIHSS admission score, patient bills and encounter charges in the EVT+IV tPA group were still found to be $3861.64 (95% CI $658.84 to $7064.45, p=0.02) and $158 071.29 (95% CI $134 641.50 to $181 501.08, p < 0.001) greater than in the EVT only group respectively. The EVT+IV tPA group had a higher complication rate of intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) (p=0.005). The EVT and EVT+IV tPA groups did not differ significantly in median discharge NIHSS score (p=0.56), functional independence rate at 90 days (p=0.96), or average length of hospital stay (p=0.21).

Conclusion Patients treated with EVT+IV tPA have greater hospital encounter charges and final hospital bills as well as higher rates of ICH than patients who undergo treatment with EVT only.

  • thrombolysis
  • thrombectomy
  • stroke
  • intervention
  • hemorrhage

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