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A Canadian Stroke Best Practices consensus statement on Acute Stroke Management during pregnancy was published in 2018. The state of individual practice, however, is unknown.
A survey on treatment of acute stroke in pregnant and post-partum women was distributed via the Canadian Stroke Consortium email list. Descriptive statistics (frequencies and proportions) were calculated for demographic and response variables and free-text responses were coded for thematic content.
Thirty-five participants completed the survey; 12 had experience with intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV-tPA), endovascular therapy (EVT), or both in pregnant patients. None had treatment-related complications. The majority (92%) of those who had not yet encountered the issue in practice expressed some reservation about giving IV-tPA to an otherwise eligible pregnant woman. In a theoretical scenario where an otherwise eligible pregnant woman was a candidate for both IV-tPA and EVT, 58% of respondents would have opted for EVT alone. Amongst this cohort comprised mainly of stroke sub-specialists, more than a third had treated pregnant patients with reperfusion therapy.
The reported safety experience with both IV-tPA and EVT was reassuring. Overall, there was a hesitancy towards use of IV-tPA in pregnancy that is discordant with the recent consensus statement. Possible barriers to uptake identified through thematic analysis were concerns regarding risks of bleeding in the pregnant patient, presence of EVT as a perceived alternative, and the need for express consent from the patient and family.
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