<p><b>Background and Purpose:</b> Mechanisms of early neurologic deterioration after treatment with intravenous, recombinant, tissue-type plasminogen activator (IV rt-PA) include symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (SICH) and early recurrent ischemic stroke. We observed a number of cases of acute deterioration due to recurrent ischemic events.</p>\ud \ud <p><b>Methods:</b> We undertook a single-center, retrospective analysis of consecutive acute stroke patients treated with IV rt-PA between January 2006 and December 2008 to define the incidence of early neurologic deterioration (>= 4-point drop on the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale within 72 hours) and its mechanism. Deterioration was attributed to SICH when associated with a PH1 or PH2 hemorrhage on postdeterioration computed tomography scans, to recurrent ischemic stroke when there was clinical and radiologic evidence of a new territorial infarction or new vessel occlusion, and otherwise to evolution of the incident stroke.</p>\ud \ud <p><b>Results:</b> Of 228 consecutive IV rt-PA-treated patients, 34 (15%) developed early neurologic deterioration, 18 (8%) secondary to incident strokes 10 (4.4%) due to SICH, and 6 (2.6%) due to early recurrent ischemic events, which were significantly associated with atrial fibrillation (present in 5 of 6 patients; 4 paroxysmal, 1 permanent). In 4 patients, sudden clinical deterioration developed during or shortly after IV rt-PA infusion, and in 2, deterioration developed 3 days later. All died 2 days to 2 weeks later. The single case without atrial fibrillation had a recurrent, contralateral, middle cerebral artery stroke during IV rt-PA infusion and multiple high-signal emboli detected by transcranial Doppler. Early recurrent ischemic stroke accounted for 5 of 12 (42%) cases of early neurologic deterioration in patients with atrial fibrillation.</p>\ud \ud <p><b>Conclusion:</b> In this single-center series, the incidence of early recurrent ischemic stroke after IV rt-PA was 2.6% and was associated with previous atrial fibrillation.</p>
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