Writing from the 2018 International Stroke Conference, it is difficult to report on anything other than the game-changing results of DEFUSE 3. After years of clinical suspicion that endovascular therapy works, definitive evidence establishing the role of endovascular therapy in acute stroke care was first presented at the International Stroke Conference in 2015. Since then, there has been great interest in maximizing the yield of this highly effective therapy. Extending the original window of 0-8 hours has been of particular interest.
Imagine being called the emergency department to find a patient who woke up severely disabled by their stroke only to determine that the last time they were seen well was at dinner the night before. Unable to definitively conclude that their stroke began within the last 6-8 hours, you are unable to provide any therapy beyond standard supportive medical care. The patient worsens while in the hospital and is discharged to a nursing home or subacute rehabilitation facility.
This is not an uncommon situation. So, learning today that the window for intervention can be extended safely and effectively to 16 hours was moving. The DEFUSE 3 data showed that properly selected patients stand to benefit immensely from endovascular therapy, and these data will arm neurologists with yet another highly impactful intervention to offer patients. By confirming the results of the DAWN trial, which extended the window to a full 24 hours, DEFUSE 3 settles the issue.
Now, stroke systems of care need to quickly adapt to this new reality so that we can help patients benefit from the remarkable progress of stroke treatment science.
- Nogueira, et al. Thrombectomy 6 to 24 Hours after Stroke with a Mismatch between Deficit and Infarct. NEJM. 2018; 378:11-21.
Albers et al. Thrombectomy for Stroke at 6 to 16 Hours with Selection by Perfusion Imaging. NEJM. 2018. Ahead of print.
Neal S. Parikh, MD, earned his MD from Weill Cornell Medical College and completed residency training in neurology at the same institution. He is now an NIH T32 neuro-epidemiology and vascular neurology fellow at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. He tweets @NealSParikhMD and contributes to Blogging Stroke as a blogger.