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1)ECASS ( Intravenous thrombolysis with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator for acute hemispheric stroke. The European Cooperative Acute Stroke Study (ECASS)


OBJECTIVE--To evaluate the efficacy and safety of intravenous thrombolysis using recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) in patients with acute ischemic stroke. DESIGN--Randomized, prospective, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. SETTING--A total of 75 hospitals in 14 European countries. PATIENTS--A total of 620 patients with acute ischemic hemispheric stroke and moderate to severe neurologic deficit and without major early infarct signs on initial computed tomography (CT). INTERVENTION--Patients were randomized to treatment with 1.1 mg per kilogram of body weight of rt-PA (alteplase) or placebo within 6 hours from the onset of symptoms. OUTCOME MEASURES--Primary end points included Barthel Index (BI) and modified Rankin Scale (RS) at 90 days. Secondary end points included combined BI and RS, Scandinavian Stroke Scale (SSS) at 90 days, and 30-day mortality. Tertiary end points included early neurologic recovery (SSS) and duration of in-hospital stay. Safety parameters included mortality and incidence of intracranial or extracranial hemorrhage. RESULTS--The distribution of demographic variables was similar among patients in the rt-PA and placebo treatment arms in both the intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis and the explanatory analysis for the target population (TP). A total of 109 patients (17.4%) were included in the trial despite major protocol violations but excluded from the TP. There was no difference in the primary end points in the ITT analysis, while the TP analysis revealed a significant difference in the RS in favor of rt-PA-treated patients (P = .035). Of the secondary end points, the combined BI and RS showed a difference in favor of rt-PA-treated patients in both analyses (P < .001). Neurologic recovery at 90 days was significantly better for rt-PA-treated patients in the TP (P = .03). The speed of neurologic recovery assessed by the SSS was significantly better up to 7 days in the ITT analysis and up to 30 days for the TP in the rt-PA treatment arm. In-hospital stay was significantly shorter in the rt-PA treatment arm in both analyses. There were no statistically significant differences in the mortality rate at 30 days or in the overall incidence of intracerebral hemorrhages among the rt-PA and placebo treatment arms in either analysis. However, the occurrence of large parenchymal hemorrhages was significantly more frequent in the rt-PA-treated patients. CONCLUSIONS--Intravenous thrombolysis in acute ischemic stroke is effective in improving some functional measures and neurologic outcome in a defined subgroup of stroke patients with moderate to severe neurologic deficit and without extended infarct signs on the initial CT scan. However, the identification of this subgroup is difficult and depends on recognition of early major CT signs of early infarction. Therefore, since treating ineligible patients is associated with an unacceptable increase of hemorrhagic complications and death, intravenous thrombolysis cannot currently be recommended for use in an unselected population of acute ischemic stroke patients.

2)ECASS II ( Randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial of thrombolytic therapy with intravenous alteplase in acute ischaemic stroke (ECASS II). Second European-Australasian Acute Stroke Study Investigators.)


BACKGROUND: Thrombolysis for acute ischaemic stroke has been investigated in several clinical trials, with variable results. We have assessed the safety and efficacy of intravenous thrombolysis with alteplase (0.9 mg/kg bodyweight) within 6 h of stroke onset. METHODS: This non-angiographic, randomised, double-blind, trial enrolled 800 patients in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Computed tomography was used to exclude patients with signs of major infarction. Alteplase (n=409) and placebo (n=391) were randomly assigned with stratification for time since symptom onset (0-3 h or 3-6 h). The primary endpoint was the modified Rankin scale (mRS) at 90 days, dichotomised for favourable (score 0-1) and unfavourable (score 2-6) outcome. Analyses were by intention to treat. FINDINGS: 165 (40.3%) alteplase-group patients and 143 (36.6%) placebo-group patients had favourable mRS outcomes (absolute difference 3.7%, p=0.277). In a posthoc analysis of mRS scores dichotomised for death or dependency, 222 (54.3%) alteplase-group and 180 (46.0%) placebo-group patients had favourable outcomes (score 0-2; absolute difference 8.3%, p=0.024). Treatment differences were similar whether patients were treated within 3 h or 3-6 h. 85 (10.6%) patients died, with no difference between treatment groups at day 90+/-14 days (43 alteplase, 42 placebo). Symptomatic intracranial haemorrhage occurred in 36 (8.8%) alteplase-group patients and 13 (3.4%) placebo-group patients. INTERPRETATION: The results do not confirm a statistical benefit for alteplase. However, we believe the trend towards efficacy should be interpreted in the light of evidence from previous trials. Despite the increased risk of intracranial haemorrhage, thrombolysis with alteplase at a dose of 0.9 mg/kg in selected patients may lead to a clinically relevant improvement in outcome.


3)CAPRIE ( A randomised, blinded, trial of clopidogrel versus aspirin in patients at risk of ischaemic events (CAPRIE). CAPRIE Steering Committee.)


BACKGROUND: Many clinical trials have evaluated the benefit of long-term use of antiplatelet drugs in reducing the risk of clinical thrombotic events. Aspirin and ticlopidine have been shown to be effective, but both have potentially serious adverse effects. Clopidogrel, a new thienopyridine derivative similar to ticlopidine, is an inhibitor of platelet aggregation induced by adenosine diphosphate. METHODS: CAPRIE was a randomised, blinded, international trial designed to assess the relative efficacy of clopidogrel (75 mg once daily) and aspirin (325 mg once daily) in reducing the risk of a composite outcome cluster of ischaemic stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death; their relative safety was also assessed. The population studied comprised subgroups of patients with atherosclerotic vascular disease manifested as either recent ischaemic stroke, recent myocardial infarction, or symptomatic peripheral arterial disease. Patients were followed for 1 to 3 years. FINDINGS: 19,185 patients, with more than 6300 in each of the clinical subgroups, were recruited over 3 years, with a mean follow-up of 1.91 years. There were 1960 first events included in the outcome cluster on which an intention-to-treat analysis showed that patients treated with clopidogrel had an annual 5.32% risk of ischaemic stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death compared with 5.83% with aspirin. These rates reflect a statistically significant (p = 0.043) relative-risk reduction of 8.7% in favour of clopidogrel (95% Cl 0.3-16.5). Corresponding on-treatment analysis yielded a relative-risk reduction of 9.4%. There were no major differences in terms of safety. Reported adverse experiences in the clopidogrel and aspirin groups judged to be severe included rash (0.26% vs 0.10%), diarrhoea (0.23% vs 0.11%), upper gastrointestinal discomfort (0.97% vs 1.22%), intracranial haemorrhage (0.33% vs 0.47%), and gastrointestinal haemorrhage (0.52% vs 0.72%), respectively. There were ten (0.10%) patients in the clopidogrel group with significant reductions in neutrophils (< 1.2 x 10(9)/L) and 16 (0.17%) in the aspirin group. INTERPRETATION: Long-term administration of clopidogrel to patients with atherosclerotic vascular disease is more effective than aspirin in reducing the combined risk of ischaemic stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death. The overall safety profile of clopidogrel is at least as good as that of medium-dose aspirin.

4)MATCH (Aspirin and clopidogrel compared with clopidogrel alone after recent ischaemic stroke or transient ischaemic attack in high-risk patients (MATCH): randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial)NEW


BACKGROUND: Clopidogrel was superior to aspirin in patients with previous manifestations of atherothrombotic disease in the CAPRIE study and its benefit was amplified in some high-risk subgroups of patients. We aimed to assess whether addition of aspirin to clopidogrel could have a greater benefit than clopidogrel alone in prevention of vascular events with potentially higher bleeding risk. METHODS: We did a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to compare aspirin (75 mg/day) with placebo in 7599 high-risk patients with recent ischaemic stroke or transient ischaemic attack and at least one additional vascular risk factor who were already receiving clopidogrel 75 mg/day. Duration of treatment and follow-up was 18 months. The primary endpoint was a composite of ischaemic stroke, myocardial infarction, vascular death, or rehospitalisation for acute ischaemia (including rehospitalisation for transient ischaemic attack, angina pectoris, or worsening of peripheral arterial disease). Analysis was by intention to treat, using logrank test and a Cox's proportional-hazards model. FINDINGS: 596 (15.7%) patients reached the primary endpoint in the group receiving aspirin and clopidogrel compared with 636 (16.7%) in the clopidogrel alone group (relative risk reduction 6.4%, [95% CI -4.6 to 16.3]; absolute risk reduction 1% [-0.6 to 2.7]). Life-threatening bleedings were higher in the group receiving aspirin and clopidogrel versus clopidogrel alone (96 [2.6%] vs 49 [1.3%]; absolute risk increase 1.3% [95% CI 0.6 to 1.9]). Major bleedings were also increased in the group receiving aspirin and clopidogrel but no difference was recorded in mortality. INTERPRETATION: Adding aspirin to clopidogrel in high-risk patients with recent ischaemic stroke or transient ischaemic attack is associated with a non-significant difference in reducing major vascular events. However, the risk of life-threatening or major bleeding is increased by the addition of aspirin.

5) Secondary stroke prevention with low-dose aspirin, sustained release dipyridamole alone and in combination. ESPS Investigators. European Stroke Prevention Study.NEW


Patients who had survived a stroke or transient ischaemic attacks (TIA) were admitted to a trial of low-dose aspirin (50 mg) alone, sustained release dipyridamole (400 mg/day) alone, or a combination of the two agents, and results compared with a placebo over 24 months. This low-dose aspirin regimen produced in pairwise comparisons a significant risk reduction of 18% for stroke, 13% for stroke and/or death but no reduction in all cause mortality. The sustained release dipyridamole produced a significant risk reduction of 16% for stroke, 15% for stroke and/or death but no significant reduction of mortality. In combination, aspirin and dipyridamole produced a risk reduction of 37% in stroke, 24% in stroke and/or death, and no reduction in mortality. Similar findings were found in TIA, which was a secondary endpoint. These results are highly significant in comparison with placebo. As expected, there were enhanced reports of alimentary side-effects in the aspirin groups and also enhanced bleeding. Dipyridamole was associated with a slight increase in headache, which resolved in most patients if therapy was continued. The conclusions are that 50 mg/day of aspirin alone or 400 mg/day of sustained release dipyridamole alone are equally effective in stroke and TIA prevention. When used in combination the effects were additive and were significantly more effective than the single

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