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Trial of Thrombectomy 6 to 24 Hours after Stroke Due to Basilar-Artery Occlusion


The effects and risks of endovascular thrombectomy 6 to 24 hours after stroke onset due to basilar-artery occlusion have not been extensively studied.


In a trial conducted over a 5-year period in China, we randomly assigned, in a 1:1 ratio, patients with basilar-artery stroke who presented between 6 to 24 hours after symptom onset to receive either medical therapy plus thrombectomy or medical therapy only (control). The original primary outcome, a score of 0 to 4 on the modified Rankin scale (range, 0 to 6, with a score of 0 indicating no disability, 4 moderately severe disability, and 6 death) at 90 days, was changed to a good functional status (a modified Rankin scale score of 0 to 3, with a score of 3 indicating moderate disability). Primary safety outcomes were symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage at 24 hours and 90-day mortality.


A total of 217 patients (110 in the thrombectomy group and 107 in the control group) were included in the analysis; randomization occurred at a median of 663 minutes after symptom onset. Enrollment was halted at a prespecified interim analysis because of the superiority of thrombectomy. Thrombolysis was used in 14% of the patients in the thrombectomy group and in 21% of those in the control group. A modified Rankin scale score of 0 to 3 (primary outcome) occurred in 51 patients (46%) in the thrombectomy group and in 26 (24%) in the control group (adjusted rate ratio, 1.81; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.26 to 2.60; P<0.001). The results for the original primary outcome of a modified Rankin scale score of 0 to 4 were 55% and 43%, respectively (adjusted rate ratio, 1.21; 95% CI, 0.95 to 1.54). Symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage occurred in 6 of 102 patients (6%) in the thrombectomy group and in 1 of 88 (1%) in the control group (risk ratio, 5.18; 95% CI, 0.64 to 42.18). Mortality at 90 days was 31% in the thrombectomy group and 42% in the control group (adjusted risk ratio, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.54 to 1.04). Procedural complications occurred in 11% of the patients who underwent thrombectomy.


Among patients with stroke due to basilar-artery occlusion who presented 6 to 24 hours after symptom onset, thrombectomy led to a higher percentage with good functional status at 90 days than medical therapy but was associated with procedural complications and more cerebral hemorrhages. (Funded by the Chinese National Ministry of Science and Technology; BAOCHE number, NCT02737189.

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