Risks and benefits of thrombolysis in the elderly

Negar Asdaghi, Kenneth S. Butcher, Michael D. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background and purpose: Stroke incidence continues to rise exponentially with age even as temporal trends in some population risk factors increase and others decline. In general, older patients with stroke have worse outcomes compared to their younger counterparts. Stroke severity, concurrent medical problems, prestroke disability, and less-aggressive acute and chronic management are a few contributing factors to account for this poor prognosis. Acute thrombolysis therapy is the only proven treatment in acute ischemic stroke. However, elderly patients have mostly been excluded from acute revascularization studies, due predominantly to their overall poor prognosis and the fear of hemorrhagic complications from these treatments. Despite this, there is no evidence to suggest that the risk benefit ratio of thrombolysis treatment is substantially different in the elderly than in younger ischemic stroke patients. Summary of review: In this review, we briefly examine the stroke risk factor profile and outcome in the elderly and review the current evidence regarding intravenous and intra-arterial revascularization treatments. Conclusion: We feel that carefully selected patients who meet eligibility criteria for thrombolysis should not be denied this therapy on the basis of age alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-149
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Stroke
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute stroke therapy
  • Aging
  • Cerebral hemorrhage
  • Epidemiology
  • Stroke prevalence
  • Thrombolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology


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