To determine whether young adults (≤40 years old) with acute ischemic stroke are less likely to receive IV tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) and more likely to have longer times to brain imaging and treatment.
We analyzed data from the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke registry for patients with acute ischemic stroke hospitalized between January 2009 and September 2015. We used multivariable models with generalized estimating equations to evaluate tPA treatment and outcomes between younger (age 18–40 years) and older (age >40 years) patients with acute ischemic stroke.
Of 1,320,965 patients with acute ischemic stroke admitted to 1,983 hospitals, 2.3% (30,448) were 18 to 40 years of age. Among these patients, 12.5% received tPA vs 8.8% of those >40 years of age (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.63, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.56–1.71). However, younger patients were less likely to receive brain imaging within 25 minutes (62.5% vs 71.5%, aOR 0.78, 95% CI 0.73–0.84) and to be treated with tPA within 60 minutes of hospital arrival (37.0% vs 42.8%, aOR 0.74, 95% CI 0.68–0.79). Compared to older patients, younger patients treated with tPA had a lower symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage rate (1.7% vs 4.5%, aOR 0.55, 95% CI 0.42–0.72) and lower in-hospital mortality (2.0% vs 4.3%, aOR 0.65, 95% CI 0.52–0.81).
In contrast to our hypothesis, younger patients with acute ischemic stroke were more likely to be treated with tPA than older patients, but they were more likely to experience delay in evaluation and treatment. Compared with older patients, younger patients had better outcomes, including fewer intracranial hemorrhages.