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Numerous studies have shown longer pre-hospital and in-hospital workflow times and poorer outcomes in women after acute ischemic stroke (AIS) in general and after endovascular treatment (EVT) in particular. We investigated sex differences in acute stroke care of EVT patients over 5 years in a comprehensive Canadian provincial registry.
Clinical data of all AIS patients who underwent EVT between January 2017 and December 2022 in the province of Saskatchewan were captured in the Canadian OPTIMISE registry and supplemented with patient data from administrative data sources. Patient baseline characteristics, transport time metrics, and technical EVT outcomes between female and male EVT patients were compared.
Three-hundred-three patients underwent EVT between 2017 and 2022: 144 (47.5%) women and 159 (52.5%) men. Women were significantly older (median age 77.5 [interquartile range: 66–85] vs.71 [59–78], p < 0.001), while men had more intracranial internal carotid artery occlusions (48/159 [30.2%] vs. 26/142 [18.3%], p = 0.03). Last-known-well to comprehensive stroke center (CSC)-arrival time (median 232 min [interquartile range 90–432] in women vs. 230 min [90–352] in men), CSC-arrival-to-reperfusion time (median 108 min [88–149] in women vs. 102 min [77–141] in men), reperfusion status (successful reperfusion 106/142 [74.7%] in women vs. 117/158 [74.1%] in men) as well as modified Rankin score at 90 days did not differ significantly. This held true after adjusting for baseline variables in multivariable analyses.
While women undergoing EVT in the province of Saskatchewan were on average older than men, they were treated just as fast and achieved similar technical and clinical outcomes compared to men.
Decisions to treat large-vessel occlusion with endovascular therapy (EVT) or intravenous alteplase depend on how physicians weigh benefits against risks when considering patients’ comorbidities. We explored EVT/alteplase decision-making by stroke experts in the setting of comorbidity/disability.
In an international multi-disciplinary survey, experts chose treatment approaches under current resources and under assumed ideal conditions for 10 of 22 randomly assigned case scenarios. Five included comorbidities (cancer, cardiac/respiratory/renal disease, mild cognitive impairment [MCI], physical dependence). We examined scenario/respondent characteristics associated with EVT/alteplase decisions using multivariable logistic regressions.
Among 607 physicians (38 countries), EVT was chosen less often in comorbidity-related scenarios (79.6% under current resources, 82.7% assuming ideal conditions) versus six “level-1A” scenarios for which EVT/alteplase was clearly indicated by current guidelines (91.1% and 95.1%, respectively, odds ratio [OR] [current resources]: 0.38, 95% confidence interval 0.31–0.47). However, EVT was chosen more often in comorbidity-related scenarios compared to all other 17 scenarios (79.6% versus 74.4% under current resources, OR: 1.34, 1.17–1.54). Responses favoring alteplase for comorbidity-related scenarios (e.g. 75.0% under current resources) were comparable to level-1A scenarios (72.2%) and higher than all others (60.4%). No comorbidity independently diminished EVT odds when considering all scenarios. MCI and dependence carried higher alteplase odds; cancer and cardiac/respiratory/renal disease had lower odds. Being older/female carried lower EVT odds. Relevant respondent characteristics included performing more EVT cases/year (higher EVT-, lower alteplase odds), practicing in East Asia (higher EVT odds), and in interventional neuroradiology (lower alteplase odds vs neurology).
Moderate-to-severe comorbidities did not consistently deter experts from EVT, suggesting equipoise about withholding EVT based on comorbidities. However, alteplase was often foregone when respondents chose EVT. Differences in decision-making by patient age/sex merit further study.
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