Efficacy and safety of thrombolysis for acute ischemic stroke with atrial fibrillation: a meta-analysis.


Hu Y(#)(1), Ji C(#)(2).
Author information:
(1)Department of Pharmacy, The First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. [Email]
(2)Research Division of Clinical Pharmacology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China.
(#)Contributed equally


BACKGROUND: The efficacy and safety of intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) for acute ischemic stroke with atrial fibrillation (AF) is still controversial. METHODS: We conducted a meta-analysis of all relevant studies, retrieved through systematic search of PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane databases up to December 31, 2019. Modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores of 0-1 at 90 days, mRS of 0-2 at 90 days, overall mortality, and incidence of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (sICH) were collected as outcome measures. Fixed- and random-effects meta-analytical models were applied, and between-study heterogeneity was assessed. RESULTS: A total of 8509 patients were enrolled in 18 studies. A comparison of IVT treatment in AF versus non-AF patients showed that AF was associated with a significantly lower proportion of patients with mRS of 0-1 (24.1% vs. 34.5%; OR 0.59; 95% CI 0.43-0.81; P < 0.001), mRS of 0-2 (33.6% vs. 47.8%; OR 0.55; 95% CI 0.43-0.70; P < 0.001), as well as significantly higher mortality (19.4% vs. 11.5%; OR 2.05; 95% CI 1.79-2.36; P < 0.001) and higher incidence of sICH (6.4% vs. 4.1%; OR 1.60; 95% CI 1.27-2.01; P < 0.001). A comparison of AF patients who were subjected or not to IVT showed that thrombolysis carried a higher risk of sICH (5.7% vs. 1.6%; OR 3.44; 95% CI 2.04-5.82; P < 0.001) and was not associated with a better prognosis. Subgroup analysis in prospective studies also suggested a poorer functional prognosis and higher mortality in AF patients treated with IVT compared with those who did not receive IVT. Some heterogeneity was present in this meta-analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Acute IS patients with AF had worse outcomes than those without AF after thrombolytic therapy, and had a higher incidence of sICH after thrombolysis than those without thrombolysis. Thrombolysis in ischemic stroke patients with AF should be carefully considered based on clinical factors such as NIHSS score, age, and the type of AF.