Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Background and purposeRecombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA) is an effective treatment for acute ischemic stroke but is associated with an increased risk of intracranial hemorrhage (ICH). We sought to identify the risk factors for ICH with a systematic review of the published literature.MethodsWe searched for studies of rtPA-treated stroke patients that reported an association between a variable measured before rtPA infusion and clinically important ICH (parenchymal ICH or ICH associated with clinical deterioration). We calculated associations between baseline variables and ICH with random-effect meta-analyses.ResultsWe identified 55 studies that measured 43 baseline variables in 65 264 acute ischemic stroke patients. Post-rtPA ICH was associated with higher age (odds ratio, 1.03 per year; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.04), higher stroke severity (odds ratio, 1.08 per National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale point; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-1.11), and higher glucose (odds ratio, 1.10 per mmol/L; 95% confidence interval, 1.05-1.14). There was approximately a doubling of the odds of ICH with the presence of atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, renal impairment, previous antiplatelet agents, leukoaraiosis, and a visible acute cerebral ischemic lesion on pretreatment brain imaging. Little of the variation in the sizes of the associations among different studies was explained by the source of the cohort, definition of ICH, or degree of adjustment for confounding variables.ConclusionsIndividual baseline variables were modestly associated with post-rtPA ICH. Prediction of post-rtPA ICH therefore is likely to be difficult if based on single clinical or imaging factors alone. These observational data do not provide a reliable method for the individualization of treatment according to predicted ICH risk.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





2904 - 2909


Division of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, EH4 2XU, UK.


Humans, Brain Ischemia, Intracranial Hemorrhages, Tissue Plasminogen Activator, Fibrinolytic Agents, Risk Factors, Age Factors, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Stroke