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Stroke thrombectomy – faster is better

November 4, 2016

Short Attention Span Summary

Time is brain
Faster time to thrombectomy is better.  For every hour delay, the risk of recovery with more severe disability increased, according to this meta-analysis of stent retriever trials.  After 7.3 hours, there was no benefit to thrombectomy for stroke at all.

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The faster a patient can have cerebrovascular thrombectomy, the better the odds of disability-free outcome.


JAMA. 2016 Sep 27;316(12):1279-88. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.13647.

Time to Treatment With Endovascular Thrombectomy and Outcomes From Ischemic Stroke: A Meta-analysis.

Saver JL1, Goyal M2, van der Lugt A3, Menon BK2, Majoie CB4, Dippel DW3, Campbell BC5, Nogueira RG6, Demchuk AM2, Tomasello A7, Cardona P8, Devlin TG9, Frei DF10, du Mesnil de Rochemont R11, Berkhemer OA4, Jovin TG12, Siddiqui AH13, van Zwam WH14, Davis SM5, Castaño C15, Sapkota BL16, Fransen PS3, Molina C7, van Oostenbrugge RJ14, Chamorro Á17, Lingsma H3, Silver FL18, Donnan GA19, Shuaib A20, Brown S21, Stouch B22, Mitchell PJ5, Davalos A15, Roos YB4, Hill MD2; HERMES Collaborators.

Author information: 

  • 1David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles.
  • 2University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
  • 3Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
  • 4Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • 5University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
  • 6Grady Memorial Hospital, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • 7Hospital Vall d’Hebron, Barcelona, Spain.
  • 8Hospital de Bellvitge, L’Hospet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.
  • 9Erlanger Hospital at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.
  • 10Swedish Medical Center, Englewood, Colorado.
  • 11Klinikum der Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt, Germany.
  • 12University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennyslvania.
  • 13State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo.
  • 14Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands.
  • 15Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, Barcelona, Spain.
  • 16Erlanger Medical Center, Chattanooga, Tennessee.
  • 17Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
  • 18University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • 19Florey Institute, Melbourne, Australia.
  • 20University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
  • 21Altair Biostatistics, St Louis Park, Minnesota.
  • 22Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennyslvania.



Endovascular thrombectomy with second-generation devices is beneficial for patients with ischemic stroke due to intracranial large-vessel occlusions. Delineation of the association of treatment time with outcomes would help to guide implementation.


To characterize the period in which endovascular thrombectomy is associated with benefit, and the extent to which treatment delay is related to functional outcomes, mortality, and symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage.


Demographic, clinical, and brain imaging data as well as functional and radiologic outcomes were pooled from randomized phase 3 trials involving stent retrievers or other second-generation devices in a peer-reviewed publication (by July 1, 2016). The identified 5 trials enrolled patients at 89 international sites.


Endovascular thrombectomy plus medical therapy vs medical therapy alone; time to treatment.


The primary outcome was degree of disability (mRS range, 0-6; lower scores indicating less disability) at 3 months, analyzed with the common odds ratio (cOR) to detect ordinal shift in the distribution of disability over the range of the mRS; secondary outcomes included fu
nctional independence at 3 months, mortality by 3 months, and symptomatic hemorrhagic transformation.


Among all 1287 patients (endovascular thrombectomy + medical therapy [n = 634]; medical therapy alone [n = 653]) enrolled in the 5 trials (mean age, 66.5 years [SD, 13.1]; women, 47.0%), time from symptom onset to randomization was 196 minutes (IQR, 142 to 267). Among the endovascular group, symptom onset to arterial puncture was 238 minutes (IQR, 180 to 302) and symptom onset to reperfusion was 286 minutes (IQR, 215 to 363). At 90 days, the mean mRS score was 2.9 (95% CI, 2.7 to 3.1) in the endovascular group and 3.6 (95% CI, 3.5 to 3.8) in the medical therapy group. The odds of better disability outcomes at 90 days (mRS scale distribution) with the endovascular group declined with longer time from symptom onset to arterial puncture: cOR at 3 hours, 2.79 (95% CI, 1.96 to 3.98), absolute risk difference (ARD) for lower disability scores, 39.2%; cOR at 6 hours, 1.98 (95% CI, 1.30 to 3.00), ARD, 30.2%; cOR at 8 hours,1.57 (95% CI, 0.86 to 2.88), ARD, 15.7%; retaining statistical significance through 7 hours and 18 minutes. Among 390 patients who achieved substantial reperfusion with endovascular thrombectomy, each 1-hour delay to reperfusion was associated with a less favorable degree of disability (cOR, 0.84 [95% CI, 0.76 to 0.93]; ARD, -6.7%) and less functional independence (OR, 0.81 [95% CI, 0.71 to 0.92], ARD, -5.2% [95% CI, -8.3% to -2.1%]), but no change in mortality (OR, 1.12 [95% CI, 0.93 to 1.34]; ARD, 1.5% [95% CI, -0.9% to 4.2%]).


In this individual patient data meta-analysis of patients with large-vessel ischemic stroke, earlier treatment with endovascular thrombectomy + medical therapy compared with medical therapy alone was associated with lower degrees of disability at 3 months. Benefit became nonsignificant after 7.3 hours.

PMID: 27673305 [PubMed – in process]