Stroke

Simpkins AN, Tahsili-Fahadan P, Buchwald N, De Prey J, Farooqui A, Mugge LA, Ranasinghe T, Senetar AJ, Echevarria FD, Alvi MM, Wu O. Adapting Clinical Practice of Thrombolysis for Acute Ischemic Stroke Beyond 4.5 Hours: A Review of the Literature. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 2021;30(11):106059.Abstract
Several clinical trials have demonstrated that advanced neuroimaging can select patients for recanalization therapy in an extended time window. The favorable functional outcomes and safety profile of these studies have led to the incorporation of neuroimaging in endovascular treatment guidelines, and most recently, also extended to decision making on thrombolysis. Two randomized clinical trials have demonstrated that patients who are not amenable to endovascular thrombectomy within 4.5 hours from symptoms discovery or beyond 4.5 hours from the last-known-well time may also be safely treated with intravenous thrombolysis and have a clinical benefit above the risk of safety concerns. With the growing aging population, increased stroke incidence in the young, and the impact of evolving medical practice, healthcare and stroke systems of care need to adapt continuously to provide evidence-based care efficiently. Therefore, understanding and incorporating appropriate screening strategies is critical for the prompt recognition of potentially eligible patients for extended-window intravenous thrombolysis. Here we review the clinical trial evidence for thrombolysis for acute ischemic stroke in the extended time window and provide a review of new enrolling clinical trials that include thrombolysis intervention beyond the 4.5 hour window.
Etherton MR, Schirmer MD, Zotin MCZ, Rist PM, Boulouis G, Lauer A, Wu O, Rost NS. Global white matter structural integrity mediates the effect of age on ischemic stroke outcomes. Int J Stroke 2021;:17474930211055906.Abstract
BACKGROUND: The relationship of global white matter microstructural integrity and ischemic stroke outcomes is not well understood. AIMS: To investigate the relationship of global white matter microstructural integrity with clinical variables and functional outcomes after acute ischemic stroke. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of neuroimaging data from 300 acute ischemic stroke patients with magnetic resonance imaging brain obtained within 48 hours of stroke onset and long-term functional outcomes (modified Rankin, mRS) was performed. Peak width of skeletonized mean diffusivity (PSMD), as a measure of global white matter microstructural injury, was calculated in the hemisphere contralateral to the acute infarct. Multivariable linear and logistic regression analyses were performed to identify variables associated with PSMD and excellent functional outcome (mRS < 2) at 90 days, respectively. Mediation analysis was then pursued to characterize how PSMD mediates the effect of age on acute ischemic stroke functional outcomes. RESULTS: White matter hyperintensity volume, age, pre-stroke disability, and normal-appearing white matter mean diffusivity were independently associated with increased PSMD. In logistic regression analysis, increased infarct volume and PSMD were independent predictors of excellent functional outcome. Additionally, the effect of age on functional outcomes was indirectly mediated by PSMD (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: As a marker of global white matter microstructural injury, increased PSMD mediates the effect of increased age to contribute to poor acute ischemic stroke functional outcomes. PSMD could serve as a putative radiographic marker of brain age for stroke outcomes prognostication.
González GR, Silva GS, He J, Sadaghiani S, Wu O, Singhal AB. Identifying Severe Stroke Patients Likely to Benefit From Thrombectomy Despite Delays of up to a Day. Sci Rep 2020;10(1):4008.Abstract
Selected patients with large vessel occlusions (LVO) can benefit from thrombectomy up to 24 hours after onset. Identifying patients who might benefit from late intervention after transfer from community hospitals to thrombectomy-capable centers would be valuable. We searched for presentation biomarkers to identify such patients. Frequent MR imaging over 2 days of 38 untreated LVO patients revealed logarithmic growth of the ischemic infarct core. In 24 patients with terminal internal carotid artery or the proximal middle cerebral artery occlusions we found that an infarct core growth rate (IGR) <4.1 ml/hr and initial infarct core volumes (ICV) <19.9 ml had accuracies >89% for identifying patients who would still have a core of <50 ml 24 hours after stroke onset, a core size that should predict favorable outcomes with thrombectomy. Published reports indicate that up to half of all LVO stroke patients have an IGR <4.1 ml/hr. Other potentially useful biomarkers include the NIHSS and the perfusion measurements MTT and Tmax. We conclude that many LVO patients have a stroke physiology that is favorable for late intervention, and that there are biomarkers that can accurately identify them at early time points as suitable for transfer for intervention.
Thomalla G, Boutitie F, Ma H, Koga M, Ringleb P, Schwamm LH, Wu O, Bendszus M, Bladin CF, Campbell BCV, Cheng B, Churilov L, Ebinger M, Endres M, Fiebach JB, Fukuda-Doi M, Inoue M, Kleinig TJ, Latour LL, Lemmens R, Levi CR, Leys D, Miwa K, Molina CA, Muir KW, Nighoghossian N, Parsons MW, Pedraza S, Schellinger PD, Schwab S, Simonsen CZ, Song SS, Thijs V, Toni D, Hsu CY, Wahlgren N, Yamamoto H, Yassi N, Yoshimura S, Warach S, Hacke W, Toyoda K, Donnan GA, Davis SM, Gerloff C, of unknown thrombolysis trials investigators EOS (EOS). Intravenous alteplase for stroke with unknown time of onset guided by advanced imaging: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual patient data. Lancet 2020;396(10262):1574-1584.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Patients who have had a stroke with unknown time of onset have been previously excluded from thrombolysis. We aimed to establish whether intravenous alteplase is safe and effective in such patients when salvageable tissue has been identified with imaging biomarkers. METHODS: We did a systematic review and meta-analysis of individual patient data for trials published before Sept 21, 2020. Randomised trials of intravenous alteplase versus standard of care or placebo in adults with stroke with unknown time of onset with perfusion-diffusion MRI, perfusion CT, or MRI with diffusion weighted imaging-fluid attenuated inversion recovery (DWI-FLAIR) mismatch were eligible. The primary outcome was favourable functional outcome (score of 0-1 on the modified Rankin Scale [mRS]) at 90 days indicating no disability using an unconditional mixed-effect logistic-regression model fitted to estimate the treatment effect. Secondary outcomes were mRS shift towards a better functional outcome and independent outcome (mRS 0-2) at 90 days. Safety outcomes included death, severe disability or death (mRS score 4-6), and symptomatic intracranial haemorrhage. This study is registered with PROSPERO, CRD42020166903. FINDINGS: Of 249 identified abstracts, four trials met our eligibility criteria for inclusion: WAKE-UP, EXTEND, THAWS, and ECASS-4. The four trials provided individual patient data for 843 individuals, of whom 429 (51%) were assigned to alteplase and 414 (49%) to placebo or standard care. A favourable outcome occurred in 199 (47%) of 420 patients with alteplase and in 160 (39%) of 409 patients among controls (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1·49 [95% CI 1·10-2·03]; p=0·011), with low heterogeneity across studies (I2=27%). Alteplase was associated with a significant shift towards better functional outcome (adjusted common OR 1·38 [95% CI 1·05-1·80]; p=0·019), and a higher odds of independent outcome (adjusted OR 1·50 [1·06-2·12]; p=0·022). In the alteplase group, 90 (21%) patients were severely disabled or died (mRS score 4-6), compared with 102 (25%) patients in the control group (adjusted OR 0·76 [0·52-1·11]; p=0·15). 27 (6%) patients died in the alteplase group and 14 (3%) patients died among controls (adjusted OR 2·06 [1·03-4·09]; p=0·040). The prevalence of symptomatic intracranial haemorrhage was higher in the alteplase group than among controls (11 [3%] vs two [<1%], adjusted OR 5·58 [1·22-25·50]; p=0·024). INTERPRETATION: In patients who have had a stroke with unknown time of onset with a DWI-FLAIR or perfusion mismatch, intravenous alteplase resulted in better functional outcome at 90 days than placebo or standard care. A net benefit was observed for all functional outcomes despite an increased risk of symptomatic intracranial haemorrhage. Although there were more deaths with alteplase than placebo, there were fewer cases of severe disability or death. FUNDING: None.
Hao Liu

Hao Liu, MD

Visiting Scholar, Athinoula A Martinos Center, Dept Radiology, MGH
S Winzeck

Stefan Winzeck, PhD

Former Graduate Student, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Dept of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Ona Wu, PhD FAHA

Ona Wu, PhD FAHA

Associate Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School
Associate Neuroscientist, Massachusetts General Hospital
Director of Clinical Computational Neuroimaging, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Dept of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital
The research goals of Dr. Wu’s group are to improve the diagnosis, prognosis and management of patients with brain injury by quantifying and monitoring... Read more about Ona Wu, PhD FAHA
p: 617-643-3873
Rocha EA, Ji R, Ay H, Li Z, Arsava EM, Silva GS, Sorensen AG, Wu O, Singhal AB. Reduced Ischemic Lesion Growth with Heparin in Acute Ischemic Stroke. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 2019;28(6):1500-1508.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: The role of heparin in acute ischemic stroke is controversial. We investigated the effect of heparin on ischemic lesion growth. METHODS: Data were analyzed on nonthrombolyzed ischemic stroke patients in whom diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI)/perfusion-weighted imaging (PWI) MRI was performed less than 12 hours of last known well and showed a PWI-DWI lesion mismatch, and who underwent follow-up neuroimaging at least 4 days after admission. Lesion growth was assessed by (1) absolute lesion growth and (2) percentage mismatch lost (PML). Univariate and multivariate regression analysis, and propensity score matching, were used to determine the effects of heparin on ischemic lesion growth. RESULTS: Of the 113 patients meeting study criteria, 59 received heparin within 24 hours. Heparin use was associated with ∼5-fold reductions in PML (3.5% versus 19.2%, P = .002) and absolute lesion growth (4.7 versus 20.5 mL, P = .009). In multivariate regression models, heparin independently predicted reduced PML (P = .04) and absolute lesion growth (P = .04) in the entire cohort, and in multiple subgroups (patients with and without proximal artery occlusion; DWI volume greater than 5 mL; cardio-embolic mechanism; DEFUSE-3 target mismatch). In propensity score matching analysis where patients were matched by admission NIHSS, DWI volume and proximal artery occlusion, heparin remained an independent predictor of PML (P = .048) and tended to predict absolute lesion growth (P = .06). Heparin treatment did not predict functional outcome at discharge or 90 days. CONCLUSION: Early heparin treatment in acute ischemic stroke patients with PWI-DWI mismatch attenuates ischemic lesion growth. Clinical trials with careful patient selection are warranted to investigate the potential ischemic protective effects of heparin.
Wu O, Winzeck S, Giese A-K, Hancock BL, Etherton MR, Bouts MJRJ, Donahue K, Schirmer MD, Irie RE, Mocking SJT, McIntosh EC, Bezerra R, Kamnitsas K, Frid P, Wasselius J, Cole JW, Xu H, Holmegaard L, Jiménez-Conde J, Lemmens R, Lorentzen E, McArdle PF, Meschia JF, Roquer J, Rundek T, Sacco RL, Schmidt R, Sharma P, Slowik A, Stanne TM, Thijs V, Vagal A, Woo D, Bevan S, Kittner SJ, Mitchell BD, Rosand J, Worrall BB, Jern C, Lindgren AG, Maguire J, Rost NS. Big Data Approaches to Phenotyping Acute Ischemic Stroke Using Automated Lesion Segmentation of Multi-Center Magnetic Resonance Imaging Data. Stroke 2019;50(7):1734-1741.Abstract
Background and Purpose- We evaluated deep learning algorithms' segmentation of acute ischemic lesions on heterogeneous multi-center clinical diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data sets and explored the potential role of this tool for phenotyping acute ischemic stroke. Methods- Ischemic stroke data sets from the MRI-GENIE (MRI-Genetics Interface Exploration) repository consisting of 12 international genetic research centers were retrospectively analyzed using an automated deep learning segmentation algorithm consisting of an ensemble of 3-dimensional convolutional neural networks. Three ensembles were trained using data from the following: (1) 267 patients from an independent single-center cohort, (2) 267 patients from MRI-GENIE, and (3) mixture of (1) and (2). The algorithms' performances were compared against manual outlines from a separate 383 patient subset from MRI-GENIE. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression with respect to demographics, stroke subtypes, and vascular risk factors were performed to identify phenotypes associated with large acute diffusion-weighted MRI volumes and greater stroke severity in 2770 MRI-GENIE patients. Stroke topography was investigated. Results- The ensemble consisting of a mixture of MRI-GENIE and single-center convolutional neural networks performed best. Subset analysis comparing automated and manual lesion volumes in 383 patients found excellent correlation (ρ=0.92; P<0.0001). Median (interquartile range) diffusion-weighted MRI lesion volumes from 2770 patients were 3.7 cm (0.9-16.6 cm). Patients with small artery occlusion stroke subtype had smaller lesion volumes ( P<0.0001) and different topography compared with other stroke subtypes. Conclusions- Automated accurate clinical diffusion-weighted MRI lesion segmentation using deep learning algorithms trained with multi-center and diverse data is feasible. Both lesion volume and topography can provide insight into stroke subtypes with sufficient sample size from big heterogeneous multi-center clinical imaging phenotype data sets.
Lorenzano S, Rost NS, Khan M, Li H, Batista LM, Chutinet A, Green RE, Thankachan TK, Thornell B, Muzikansky A, Arai K, Som AT, Pham L-DD, Wu O, Harris GJ, Lo EH, Blumberg JB, Milbury PE, Feske SK, Furie KL. Early molecular oxidative stress biomarkers of ischemic penumbra in acute stroke. Neurology 2019;93(13):e1288-e1298.Abstract
OBJECTIVES: To assess whether plasma biomarkers of oxidative stress predict diffusion-perfusion mismatch in patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS). METHODS: We measured plasma levels of oxidative stress biomarkers such as F2-isoprostanes (F2-isoPs), total and perchloric acid Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC and ORAC), urinary levels of 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguoanosine, and inflammatory and tissue-damage biomarkers (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9) in a prospective study of patients with AIS presenting within 9 hours of symptom onset. Diffusion-weighted (DWI) and perfusion-weighted (PWI) MRI sequences were analyzed with a semiautomated volumetric method. Mismatch was defined as baseline mean transit time volume minus DWI volume. A percent mismatch cutoff of >20% was considered clinically significant. A stricter definition of mismatch was also used. Mismatch salvage was the region free of overlap by final infarction. RESULTS: Mismatch >20% was present in 153 of 216 (70.8%) patients (mean [±SD] age 69.2 ± 14.3 years, 41.2% women). Patients with mismatch >20% were more likely to have higher baseline plasma levels of ORAC ( = 0.020) and F2-isoPs ( = 0.145). Multivariate binary logistic regression demonstrated that lnF2-isoP (odds ratio [OR] 2.44, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.19-4.98, = 0.014) and lnORAC (OR 4.18, 95% CI 1.41-12.41, = 0.010) were independent predictors of >20% PWI-DWI mismatch and the stricter mismatch definition, respectively. lnORAC significantly predicted mismatch salvage volume (>20% mismatch = 0.010, stricter mismatch definition = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS: Elevated hyperacute plasma levels of F2-isoP and ORAC are associated with radiographic evidence of mismatch and mismatch salvage in patients with AIS. If validated, these findings may add to our understanding of the role of oxidative stress in cerebral tissue fate during acute ischemia.
Etherton MR, Wu O, Giese A-K, Lauer A, Boulouis G, Mills B, Cloonan L, Donahue KL, Copen W, Schaefer P, Rost NS. White Matter Integrity and Early Outcomes After Acute Ischemic Stroke. Transl Stroke Res 2019;10(6):630-638.Abstract
Chronic white matter structural injury is a risk factor for poor long-term outcomes after acute ischemic stroke (AIS). However, it is unclear how white matter structural injury predisposes to poor outcomes after AIS. To explore this question, in 42 AIS patients with moderate to severe white matter hyperintensity (WMH) burden, we characterized WMH and normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) diffusivity anisotropy metrics in the hemisphere contralateral to acute ischemia in relation to ischemic tissue and early functional outcomes. All patients underwent brain MRI with dynamic susceptibility contrast perfusion and diffusion tensor imaging within 12 h and at day 3-5 post stroke. Early neurological outcomes were measured as the change in NIH Stroke Scale score from admission to day 3-5 post stroke. Target mismatch profile, percent mismatch lost, infarct growth, and rates of good perfusion were measured to assess ischemic tissue outcomes. NAWM mean diffusivity was significantly lower in the group with early neurological improvement (ENI, 0.79 vs. 0.82 × 10, mm/s; P = 0.02). In multivariable logistic regression, NAWM mean diffusivity was an independent radiographic predictor of ENI (β = - 17.6, P = 0.037). Median infarct growth was 118% (IQR 26.8-221.9%) despite good reperfusion being observed in 65.6% of the cohort. NAWM and WMH diffusivity metrics were not associated with target mismatch profile, percent mismatch lost, or infarct growth. Our results suggest that, in AIS patients, white matter structural integrity is associated with poor early neurological outcomes independent of ischemic tissue outcomes.
Schirmer MD, Dalca AV, Sridharan R, Giese A-K, Donahue KL, Nardin MJ, Mocking SJT, McIntosh EC, Frid P, Wasselius J, Cole JW, Holmegaard L, Jern C, Jimenez-Conde J, Lemmens R, Lindgren AG, Meschia JF, Roquer J, Rundek T, Sacco RL, Schmidt R, Sharma P, Slowik A, Thijs V, Woo D, Vagal A, Xu H, Kittner SJ, McArdle PF, Mitchell BD, Rosand J, Worrall BB, Wu O, Golland P, Rost NS. White matter hyperintensity quantification in large-scale clinical acute ischemic stroke cohorts - The MRI-GENIE study. Neuroimage Clin 2019;23:101884.Abstract
White matter hyperintensity (WMH) burden is a critically important cerebrovascular phenotype linked to prediction of diagnosis and prognosis of diseases, such as acute ischemic stroke (AIS). However, current approaches to its quantification on clinical MRI often rely on time intensive manual delineation of the disease on T2 fluid attenuated inverse recovery (FLAIR), which hinders high-throughput analyses such as genetic discovery. In this work, we present a fully automated pipeline for quantification of WMH in clinical large-scale studies of AIS. The pipeline incorporates automated brain extraction, intensity normalization and WMH segmentation using spatial priors. We first propose a brain extraction algorithm based on a fully convolutional deep learning architecture, specifically designed for clinical FLAIR images. We demonstrate that our method for brain extraction outperforms two commonly used and publicly available methods on clinical quality images in a set of 144 subject scans across 12 acquisition centers, based on dice coefficient (median 0.95; inter-quartile range 0.94-0.95; p < 0.01) and Pearson correlation of total brain volume (r = 0.90). Subsequently, we apply it to the large-scale clinical multi-site MRI-GENIE study (N = 2783) and identify a decrease in total brain volume of -2.4 cc/year. Additionally, we show that the resulting total brain volumes can successfully be used for quality control of image preprocessing. Finally, we obtain WMH volumes by building on an existing automatic WMH segmentation algorithm that delineates and distinguishes between different cerebrovascular pathologies. The learning method mimics expert knowledge of the spatial distribution of the WMH burden using a convolutional auto-encoder. This enables successful computation of WMH volumes of 2533 clinical AIS patients. We utilize these results to demonstrate the increase of WMH burden with age (0.950 cc/year) and show that single site estimates can be biased by the number of subjects recruited.

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