Neurological Improvement by One-Thirds Is Associated with Early Recanalization in Stroke with Large Vessel Occlusion

Bizhong Che, Yohanna Kusuma, Steven Bush, Richard Dowling, Cameron Williams, Conor Houlihan, Peter J. Mitchell, Bernard Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: A proportion of large vessel occlusion strokes demonstrate early recanalization, obviating the initial intention to proceed to endovascular thrombectomy. Neurological improvement is a possible surrogate marker for reperfusion. We aimed to determine the optimal threshold of neurological improvement, as defined by the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), which best associates with early recanalization. METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed consecutive patients with large vessel occlusion transferred from primary stroke centers to a tertiary comprehensive stroke center in Melbourne, Australia, for possible endovascular thrombectomy from January 2018 to December 2022. Absolute and percentage changes in NIHSS between transfer, as well as other definitions of neurological improvement, were compared using receiver operating characteristic curve analysis for association with recanalization as defined by the absence of occlusion in the internal carotid artery, middle cerebral artery (M1 or M2 segments), or basilar artery on repeat vascular imaging. RESULTS: Six hundred and fifty-four transferred patients with large vessel occlusion were included in the analysis: mean age was 68.8±14.0 years, 301 (46.0%) were women, and 338 (52%) received intravenous thrombolytics. The proportion of extracranial internal carotid artery, intracranial internal carotid artery, M1, proximal M2, and basilar artery occlusion was 18.8%, 13.6%, 48.3%, 15.0%, and 4.3%, respectively, on initial computed tomography angiogram. Median NIHSSprimary stroke centerand NIHSScomprehensive stroke centerscores were 15 (interquartile range, 9-18) and 13 (interquartile range, 8-19), respectively. Early recanalization occurred in 82 (13%) patients. NIHSS reduction of ≥33% was the best tradeoff between sensitivity (64%) and specificity (83%) for identifying recanalization. NIHSS reduction of ≥33% had the highest discriminative ability to predict recanalization (area under the curve, 0.735) in comparison with other definitions of neurological improvement. CONCLUSIONS: One-third neurological improvement between the primary hospital and tertiary center was the best predictor of early recanalization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-575
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • hospitals
  • patient transfer
  • reperfusion
  • stroke
  • thrombectomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Neurological Improvement by One-Thirds Is Associated with Early Recanalization in Stroke with Large Vessel Occlusion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this