This is an individual patient data pooled analysis of 5314 patients, which addresses the question whether patients who have an ischemic stroke while anticoagulated should be changed to a different anticoagulant or not. It is a clinically relevant topic and will help in decision making, but still many questions remain unanswered.
Seiffge DJ, De Marchis GM, Koga M, Paciaroni M, Wilson D, Cappellari M, et al. Ischemic Stroke despite Oral Anticoagulant Therapy in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation. Ann Neurol 2020 Feb 12. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ana.25700
“Was the patient independent before this stroke?” The answer to this question is no longer needed to decide whether to give thrombolysis or not t a patient with ischaemic stroke presenting within 4.5 h from the event. Even patients with significant disability (mRS up to 4) may improve and return to their previous level if appropriately treated, according to this paper by Gumbinger et al, published recently in Neurology. The Authors found that intravenous thrombolysis in patients with pre-stroke mRS (pRS) scores of 0 to 4 was associated with a higher chance of returning to their baseline (or a modified Rankin Scale score of 0/1). Only patients with a pre-stroke Rankin of 5 did not benefit from thrombolysis. So another barrier to treatment is disappearing…
Gumbinger C, Ringleb P, Ippen F, Ungerer M, Reuter B, Bruder I, Daffertshofer M, Stock C; Stroke Working Group of Baden-Württemberg. Outcomes of patients with stroke treated with thrombolysis according to prestroke Rankin Scale scores. Neurology. 2019 Nov 12;93(20):e1834-e1843. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000008468.
This month’s paper is of particular interest as it addresses an area of clinical uncertainty which affects daily practice. Should we bridge with full dose heparin/low molecular weight heparin when faced with a patient in AF who has had a minor stroke? Altavilla et al’s large observational study suggests ‘no’. Both ischemic and haemorrhagic strokes were more frequent in the bridged group. However, the study is not randomized, and neither multivariate analysis nor propensity matching can fully exclude biases. However, while we are waiting for results of on-going clinical trials such as ELAN, these results should make us stop and think when considering bridging.
Altavilla R, Caso V, Bandini F, Agnelli G, Tsivgoulis G, Yaghi S, et al.. Anticoagulation after stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation: to bridge or not with low-molecular-weight heparin? Stroke. 2019; 50:2093–2100.
doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.118.022856. PMID:31221054