Coexistent Sickle Cell Disease Has No Impact on the Safety or Outcome of Lytic Therapy in Acute Ischemic Stroke: Findings from Get with the Guidelines-Stroke

Robert J. Adams, Margueritte Cox, Shelly D. Ozark, Julie Kanter, Phillip J. Schulte, Ying Xian, Gregg C. Fonarow, Eric E. Smith, Lee H. Schwamm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose - The recommended treatment for ischemic stroke is tPA (tissue-type plasminogen activator). Although sickle cell disease (SCD) represents no known contraindication to tPA, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health recommended acute exchange transfusion for stroke in SCD, not tPA. Data on safety and outcomes of tPA in patients are needed to guide tPA use in SCD. Methods - We matched patients from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association Get With The Guidelines-Stroke registry with SCD to patients without SCD and compared usage, complications, and discharge outcomes after tPA. Multivariable logistic regression models using generalized estimating equations were used to assess outcomes. Results - From 2 016 652 stroke patients admitted to Get With The Guidelines-Stroke sites in the United States, 832 SCD and 3328 non-SCD controls with no differences in admission National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale or blood pressure were identified. Neither the fraction receiving thrombolytic therapy (8.2% for SCD versus 9.4% non-SCD) nor symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (4.9% of SCD versus 3.2% non-SCD; P=0.4502) was different. There was no difference in a prespecified set of outcome measures for those with SCD compared with controls. Conclusions - Coexistent SCD had no significant impact on the safety or outcome of thrombolytic therapy in acute ischemic stroke. Although the sample size is relatively small, these data suggest that adults with SCD and acute ischemic stroke should be treated with thrombolysis, if they otherwise qualify. Addition studies, however, should track the intracranial hemorrhage rate and provide information on other SCD-related care such as transfusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)686-691
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • brain infarction
  • quality improvement
  • sickle cell disease
  • stroke
  • thrombolytic therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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