BACKGROUND: We aimed to assess whether the effect of intravenous alteplase treatment (IVT) before endovascular treatment (EVT) on outcome is modified by first-line technique during EVT in IVT eligible patients. METHODS: This was a post hoc analysis from MR CLEAN-NO IV (Multicenter Randomized Clinical Trial of Endovascular Treatment for Acute Ischemic Stroke in the Netherlands - Intravenous Treatment Followed by Intra-Arterial Treatment Versus Direct Intra-Arterial Treatment for Acute Ischemic Stroke Caused by a Proximal Intracranial Occlusion), a randomized trial of IVT followed by EVT versus EVT alone in patients presenting directly to EVT-capable centers. We included data from all patients who underwent EVT with a thrombectomy attempt. We compared patients treated with stent retriever (with or without aspiration) to aspiration alone as first-line EVT technique and assessed the interaction of first-line EVT technique with IVT treatment. Primary outcome was the 90-day modified Rankin Scale score, analyzed with mixed model ordinal regression for a shift towards better outcome. Secondary outcomes included successful reperfusion (extended Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction score 2b-3). RESULTS: Of 473 included patients, 102 (21.6%) were treated with aspiration alone as first-line technique. In the full population, functional outcome was similar for patients treated with stent retriever versus aspiration only (adjusted common odds ratio [acOR]' 1.07 [95% CI, 0.69-1.66]). We observed a significant interaction between IVT and first-line EVT technique (P=0.03). In the aspiration-only group, patients treated with EVT alone had worse functional outcome compared to those treated with IVT and EVT (acOR, 0.44 [95% CI, 0.21-0.90]). In the stent retriever group, functional outcome did not differ between patients treated with or without IVT (acOR, 1.08 [95% CI, 0.74-1.57]). There was no statistically significant interaction for successful reperfusion. CONCLUSIONS: In MR CLEAN-NO IV, the treatment effect of IVT was modified by first-line EVT technique. Patients treated with aspiration only as first-line technique had worse clinical outcomes if they did not receive IVT. No such difference was observed in patients treated with stent retrievers. Confirmation by pooling with results from other trials is needed to confirm these findings.
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