Objectives: The benefit of intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) therapy for very old patients with acute ischemic stroke remains unclear. The aim of this study was to elucidate the efficacy and safety of intravenous rt-PA therapy for patients over 80 years old. Methods: Of 13,521 stroke patients registered in the Fukuoka Stroke Registry in Japan from June 1999 to February 2013, 953 ischemic stroke patients who were over 80 years old, hospitalized within 3 h of onset, and not treated with endovascular therapy were included in this study. Among them, 153 patients were treated with intravenous rt-PA (0.6 mg/kg). For propensity score (PS)-matched case-control analysis, 148 patients treated with rt-PA and 148 PS-matched patients without rt-PA therapy were selected by 1:1 matching with propensity for using rt-PA. Clinical outcomes were neurological improvement, good functional outcome at discharge, in-hospital mortality, and hemorrhagic complications (any intracranial hemorrhage [ICH], symptomatic ICH, and gastrointestinal bleeding). Results: In the full cohort of 953 patients, rt-PA use was associated positively with neurological improvement and good functional outcome, and negatively with in-hospital mortality after adjustment for multiple confounding factors. In PS-matched case-control analysis, patients treated with rt-PA were still at lower risk for unfavorable clinical outcomes than non-treated patients (neurological improvement, odds ratio 2.67, 95% confidence interval 1.61-4.40; good functional outcome, odds ratio 2.23, 95% confidence interval 1.16-4.29; in-hospital mortality, odds ratio 0.30, 95% confidence interval 0.13-0.65). There was no significant association between rt-PA use and risk of hemorrhagic complications in the full and PS-matched cohorts. Conclusions: Intravenous rt-PA therapy was associated with improved clinical outcomes without significant increase in risk of hemorrhagic complications in very old patients (aged>80 years) with acute ischemic stroke.
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