The establishment of mechanical thrombectomy (MT) as a first-line treatment for select patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS) and the expansion of stroke systems of care have been major advancements in the care of patients with AIS. In this study, the authors aimed to identify temporal trends in the usage of tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) and MT within the AIS population from 2012 to 2018, and the relationship to mortality.
Using a nationwide private health insurance database, 117,834 patients who presented with a primary AIS between 2012 and 2018 in the United States were identified. The authors evaluated temporal trends in tPA and MT usage and clinical outcomes stratified by treatment and age using descriptive statistics.
Among patients presenting with AIS in this population, the mean age was 69.1 years (SD ± 12.3 years), and 51.7% were female. Between 2012 and 2018, the use of tPA and MT increased significantly (tPA, 6.3% to 11.8%, p < 0.0001; MT, 1.6% to 5.7%, p < 0.0001). Mortality at 90 days decreased significantly in the overall AIS population (8.7% to 6.7%, p < 0.0001). The largest reduction in 90-day mortality was seen in patients treated with MT (21.4% to 14.1%, p = 0.0414) versus tPA (11.8% to 7.0%, p < 0.0001) versus no treatment (8.3% to 6.3%, p < 0.0001). Age-standardized mortality at 90 days decreased significantly only in patients aged 71–80 years (11.4% to 7.8%, p < 0.0001) and > 81 years (17.8% to 11.6%, p < 0.0001). Mortality at 90 days stagnated in patients aged 18 to 50 years (3.0% to 2.2%, p = 0.4919), 51 to 60 years (3.8% to 3.9%, p = 0.7632), and 61 to 70 years (5.5% to 5.2%, p = 0.2448).
From 2012 to 2018, use of tPA and MT increased significantly, irrespective of age, while mortality decreased in the entire AIS population. The most dramatic decrease in mortality was seen in the MT-treated population. Age-standardized mortality improved only in patients older than 70 years, with no change in younger patients.