Radiographic Characteristics of Mild Ischemic Stroke Patients with Visible Intracranial Occlusion: The INTERRSeCT Study

H. Lee Lau, Hannah Gardener, Shelagh B. Coutts, Vasu Saini, Thalia S. Field, Dar Dowlatshahi, Eric E. Smith, Michael D. Hill, Jose G. Romano, Andrew M. Demchuk, Bijoy K. Menon, Negar Asdaghi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Early neurological deterioration occurs in one-third of mild strokes primarily due to the presence of a relevant intracranial occlusion. We studied vascular occlusive patterns, thrombus characteristics, and recanalization rates in these patients. Methods: Among patients enrolled in INTERRSeCT (Identifying New Approaches to Optimize Thrombus Characterization for Predicting Early Recanalization and Reperfusion With IV Alteplase and Other Treatments Using Serial CT Angiography), a multicenter prospective study of acute ischemic strokes with a visible intracranial occlusion, we compared characteristics of mild (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score, ≤5) to moderate/severe strokes. Results: Among 575 patients, 12.9% had a National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score ≤5 (median age, 70.5 [63-79]; 58% male; median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score, 4 [2-4]). Demographics and vascular risk factors were similar between the two groups. As compared with those with a National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score >5, mild patients had longer symptom onset to assessment times (onset to computed tomography [240 versus 167 minutes] and computed tomography angiography [246 versus 172 minutes]), more distal occlusions (M3, anterior cerebral artery and posterior cerebral artery; 22% versus 6%), higher clot burden score (median, 9 [6-9] versus 6 [4-9]), similar favorable thrombus permeability (residual flow grades I-II, 21% versus 19%), higher collateral flow (9.1 versus 7.6), and lower intravenous alteplase treatment rates (55% versus 85%). Mild patients were more likely to recanalize (revised arterial occlusion scale score 2b/3, 45%; 49% with alteplase) compared with moderate/severe strokes (26%; 29% with alteplase). In an adjusted model for sex, alteplase, residual flow, and time between the two vessel imagings, intravenous alteplase use (odds ratio, 3.80 [95% CI, 1.11-13.00]) and residual flow grade (odds ratio, 8.70 [95% CI, 1.26-60.13]) were associated with successful recanalization among mild patients. Conclusions: Mild strokes with visible intracranial occlusions have different vascular occlusive patterns but similar thrombus permeability compared with moderate/severe strokes. Higher thrombus permeability and alteplase use were associated with successful recanalization, although the majority do not recanalize. Randomized controlled trials are needed to assess the efficacy of new thrombolytics and endovascular therapy in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-920
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • brain ischemia
  • brain thrombus
  • ischemic stroke
  • permeability
  • prospective studies
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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