Mechanical thrombectomy alone versus with thrombolysis for ischemic stroke: A meta-analysis of randomized trials

Hassan Kobeissi, Gautam Adusumilli, Sherief Ghozy, Cem Bilgin, Ramanathan Kadirvel, Waleed Brinjikji, Jeremy J. Heit, Alejandro A. Rabinstein, David F. Kallmes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Mechanical thrombectomy (MT) is the standard of care in eligible patients presenting with acute ischemic stroke (AIS). The question of whether intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) improves outcomes in conjunction with MT remains unanswered. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of published randomized controlled trials (RCT) to explore outcomes of MT with and without IVT. Methods: Following the PRISMA guidelines, a systematic literature review of the English language literature was conducted using PubMed, Embase, Web of science, and Scopus. Outcomes of interest included 90-day modified Rankin Scale (mRS) 0–2, thrombolysis in cerebral infarction (TICI) score 2b-3, symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (sICH), distal embolization, and mortality. We calculated pooled risk ratios (RRs) and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results: Six RCTs with 2334 patients compared outcomes of patients treated with MT alone and MT with IVT. Both treatments resulted in comparable rates of mRS 0–2 (RR = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.88–1.04; p-value = 0.282), sICH (RR = 0.80, 95% CI = 0.55–1.17; p-value = 0.253), mortality at 90-days (RR = 1.06, 95% CI = 0.88–1.28; p-value = 0.529), and distal embolization (RR = 1.10, 95% CI = 0.79–1.52; p-value = 0.572). MT alone was associated with a lower rate of TICI 2b-3 compared to MT with IVT (RR = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.93–0.99; p-value = 0.006). Conclusions: In this meta-analysis of six RCTs, MT alone was comparable to MT plus IVT for mRS 0–2, sICH, mortality, and distal embolization; however, MT alone resulted in lower rates of TICI 2b-3. Further trials are needed to determine which patient populations benefit from MT plus IVT and to increase the power of future meta-analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInterventional Neuroradiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • alteplase
  • bridging therapy
  • Mechanical thrombectomy
  • stroke
  • thrombolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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