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BACKGROUND: The benefit of intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) given within 3 h of acute ischaemic stroke to patients over 80 years of age is uncertain. AIM: To examine the clinical characteristics and complications and the predictors of outcome after intravenous tPA treatment in patients aged > or = 80 years. METHODS: Data (n = 1135) prospectively collected from the Canadian Alteplase for Stroke Effectiveness Study were reviewed and patients aged > or = 80 years (n = 270) treated with intravenous tPA for acute ischaemic stroke were compared with those aged <80 years (n = 865). RESULTS: The risk of symptomatic intracerebral haemorrhage did not differ between patients aged > or = 80 years and <80 years (4.4% (95% CI 2.3 to 7.6) v 4.6% (95% CI 3.3 to 6.2), p = 1.0). Favourable outcome, defined as a modified Rankin Score of 0-1 at 90 days, was seen in 26% of patients aged > or = 80 years and in 40% of those <80 (p<0.001). The following baseline characteristics were found to be more common in those aged > or = 80 years than in those aged <80 years: atrial fibrillation (37% v 18%; p<0.001); congestive heart failure (11% v 6%; p = 0.004); hypertension (59% v 48%; p = 0.002); and severity of stroke with a median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score of 16 v 14 (p = 0.004). In the multivariable logistic regression analysis, age > or = 80 years, stroke severity, baseline Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score and glucose level were found to be the major independent predictors of outcome. CONCLUSION: In carefully selected elderly patients, the use of intravenous tPA was not found to be associated with an increased risk of symptomatic intracerebral haemorrhage. Age-related differences were seen in the clinical characteristics and outcome in the elderly population.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry

Publication Date





826 - 829


Acute Disease, Age Factors, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Brain Ischemia, Contraindications, Female, Fibrinolytic Agents, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Patient Selection, Prognosis, Prospective Studies, Stroke, Thrombolytic Therapy, Tissue Plasminogen Activator, Treatment Outcome