Intravenous tissue plasminogen activator for acute ischemic stroke in patients aged 80 years and older: The tPA stroke survey experience

David Tanne, Mark J. Gorman, Vernice E. Bates, Scott E. Kasner, Phillip Scott, Piero Verro, Jeffrey R. Binder, Jeffrey M. Dayno, Lonni R. Schultz, Steven R. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Purpose - Intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) administered within 3 hours of symptom onset is the first available effective therapy for acute ischemic stroke (AIS). Few data exist, however, on its use in very elderly patients. We examined the characteristics, complications, and short-term outcome of AIS patients aged ≥80 years treated with tPA. Methods - Patients aged ≥80 years (n=30) were compared with counterparts aged <80 years (n=159) included in the tPA Stroke Survey, a US retrospective survey of 189 consecutive AIS patients treated with intravenous tPA at 13 hospitals. Results - Risk of intracerebral hemorrhage (fatal, symptomatic, and total) was 3%, 3%, and 7% in the elderly age group and 2%, 6%, and 9%, respectively, in their younger counterparts (P=NS for all comparisons). Likelihood of favorable outcome, defined as modified Rankin score 0 to 1, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score ≤5, or marked improvement by hospital discharge, was comparable between groups (37%, 54%, and 43% versus 30%, 54%, and 43%, respectively; P=NS for all comparisons). Elderly patients were more likely to be treated by stroke specialists (87% Versus 60%; P=0.005) and less likely to have an identified protocol deviation (13% versus 33%; P=0.03). Elderly patients were discharged more often to nursing care facilities (17% versus 5%; P=0.003). In logistic regression models there were no differences in odds ratio for favorable or poor outcome, other than tendency for higher in-hospital mortality in elderly patients (odds ratio, 2.8; 95% CI, 0.81 to 9.62; P=0.10). Conclusions - Among AIS patients treated with intravenous tPA, age-related differences in characteristics and disposition were identified. No evidence for withholding tPA treatment for AIS in appropriately selected patients aged ≥80 years was identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-375
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebral ischemia
  • Elderly
  • Stroke
  • Thrombolytic therapy


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