“When intravenous TPA [tissue plasminogen activator] first came out, we went by the book [for patient selection], but as we got to know the treatment and became more comfortable with it, we began to bend the rules. Now we’re at the point of getting comfortable with endovascular treatment, and we need to figure out where to bend the rules by building the database. There is no doubt that the rules need bending because of the treatment effect that we’ve seen. We need to get our patients to endovascular treatment,” she said in her presentation at the conference.
But these physicians realize that for the time being, standard of care will follow the imaging and data processing primarily used in DAWN and DEFUSE 3, which not only involved perfusion CT or MRI but also a proprietary, automated image processing software,, that takes imaging data and calculates the amount and ratio of infarcted core and hypoperfused, ischemic brain tissue.
“I asked our imaging experts [at the University of Cincinnati] what should my threshold be [for mismatch between the infarcted core and ischemic tissue], and they said, ‘Use the automated software,’ ” Dr. Khatri said. If centers managing acute ischemic stroke patients don’t already have this software, “they need it. I think there is no way around that. It’s the only way we’ll be able to do this,” she commented. Most U.S. community hospitals that admit stroke patients currently lack this software, largely because of its high cost, she added.
“We’re struggling because it is very difficult to get some community hospitals – primary stroke centers – to invest in the software, but that’s really the only way we’ll be able to do this. There are issues of cost, and of getting technicians trained,” she noted.