Objectives The present Bayesian network meta-analysis aimed to compare the various strategies for acute ischemic stroke: direct endovascular thrombectomy within the thrombolysis window in patients with no contraindications to thrombolysis (DEVT); (2) direct endovascular thrombectomy secondary to contraindications to thrombolysis (DEVTc); (3) endovascular thrombectomy in addition to thrombolysis (IVEVT); and (4) thrombolysis without thrombectomy (IVT).
Methods Six electronic databases were searched from their dates of inception to May 2017 to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing IVT versus IVEVT, and prospective registry studies comparing IVEVT versus DEVT or IVEVT versus DEVTc. Network meta-analyses were performed using ORs and 95% CIs as the summary statistic.
Results We identified 12 studies (5 RCTs, 7 prospective cohort) with a total of 3161 patients for analysis. There was no significant difference in good functional outcome at 90 days (modified Rankin Scale score ≤2) between DEVT and IVEVT. There was no significant difference in mortality between all treatment groups. DEVT was associated with a 49% reduction in intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) compared with IVEVT (OR 0.51; 95% CI 0.33 to 0.79), due to reduction in rates of asymptomatic ICH (OR 0.47; 95% CI 0.29 to 0.76). Patients treated with DEVT had higher rates of reperfusion compared with IVEVT (OR 1.73; 95% CI 1.04 to 2.94).
Conclusions To our knowledge, this is the first network meta-analysis to be performed in the era of contemporary mechanical thrombectomy comparing DEVT and DEVTc. Our analysis suggests the addition of thrombolysis prior to thrombectomy for large vessel occlusions may not be associated with improved outcomes.
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KP and AAD contributed equally.
Contributors All authors made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work, drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content, final approval of the version to be published, and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.