Relationship between clot location and outcome after basilar artery thrombolysis

De Witte T. Cross, Christopher J. Moran, Paul T. Akins, Edward E. Angtuaco, Michael N. Diringer

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154 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To identify factors that predict survival and good neurologic outcome in patients undergoing basilar artery thrombolysis. METHODS: Over a 42-month period, 20 of 22 consecutive patients with angiographic proof of basilar artery thrombosis were treated with local intraarterial urokinase. Brain CT scans, neurologic examinations, symptom duration, clot location, and degree of recanalization were analyzed retrospectively. RESULTS: Overall survival was 35% at 3 months. Survival in patients with only distal basilar clot was 71%, while survival in patients with proximal or midbasilar clot was only 15%. At 3 months, 29% of patients with distal basilar clot and 15% of patients with proximal or midbasilar clot had good neurologic outcomes (modified Rankin score of 0 to 2 and Barthel index of 95 to 100). Complete recanalization was achieved in 50% of patients; 60% of those survived and 30% had good neurologic outcomes. Of patients with less than complete recanalization, only 10% survived. Neither duration of symptoms before treatment (range, 1 to 79 hours), age (range, 12 to 83 years), nor neurologic status at the initiation of treatment (Glasgow Coma Scale score range, 3 to 15) predicted outcome. Pretreatment CT findings (positive or negative for related ischemic changes) did not predict outcome or hemorrhagic transformation. CONCLUSION: The single best predictor of survival after basilar thrombosis and intraarterial thrombolysis was distal clot location. Complete recanalization favored survival. Radiologically evident related infarctions, advanced age, delayed diagnosis, and poor pretreatment neurologic status did not predict poor outcome and therefore should not be considered absolute contraindications for intraarterial thrombolysis in patients with basilar artery thrombosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1221-1228
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 1997


  • Arterial
  • Arteries
  • Basilar
  • Thrombolysis
  • Thrombosis


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