R.J. de Haan
- A randomised controlled trial of antiplatelet therapy in combination with Rt-PA thrombolysis in ischemic stroke: rationale and design of the ARTIS-Trial
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- Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA)
BACKGROUND: Thrombolysis with intravenous rt-PA is currently the only approved acute therapy for ischemic stroke. Re-occlusion after initial recanalization occurs in up to 34% in patients treated with rt-PA, probably caused by platelet activation. In acute myocardial infarction, the combination of thrombolysis and antiplatelet therapy leads to a greater reduction of mortality compared to thrombolysis alone. In patients with acute ischemic stroke, several studies showed that patients already on antiplatelet treatment prior to thrombolysis had an equal or even better outcome compared to patients without prior antiplatelet treatment, despite an increased risk of intracerebral bleeding. Based on the fear of intracerebral haemorrhage, current international guidelines recommend postponing antiplatelet therapy until 24 hours after thrombolysis. Remarkably, prior use of antiplatelet therapy is not a contra-indication for thrombolysis. We hypothesize that antiplatelet therapy in combination with rt-PA thrombolysis will improve outcome by enhancing fibrinolysis and preventing re-occlusion.
METHODS/DESIGN: ARTIS is a randomised multi-center controlled trial with blind endpoint assessment. Our objective is to investigate whether immediate addition of aspirin to rt-PA thrombolysis improves functional outcome in ischemic stroke. Patients with acute ischemic stroke eligible for rt-PA thrombolysis are randomised to receive 300 mg aspirin within 1.5 hours after start of thrombolysis or standard care, consisting of antiplatelet therapy after 24 hours. Primary outcome is poor functional health at 3 months follow-up (modified Rankin Scale 3 - 6).
DISCUSSION: This is the first clinical trial investigating the combination of rt-PA and acute aspirin by means of a simple and cheap adjustment of current antiplatelet regimen. We expect the net benefit of improved functional outcome will overcome the possible slightly increased risk of intracerebral haemorrhage.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: The Netherlands National Trial Register NTR822. The condensed rationale of the ARTIS-Trial has already been published in Cerebrovascular Diseases
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