Isolated Sulcal Effacement and Response to Intravenous Thrombolysis in Acute Ischemic Stroke


JOURNAL OF STROKE & CEREBROVASCULAR DISEASES, vol.29, no.10, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Background and Purpose: Isolated Sulcal Effacement (ISE) is focal cortical swelling without obscuration of cortical gray-white junction. The available information on its role in acute stroke patients treated with intravenous (IV) tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is limited. Methods: ISE along with ASPECT and rLMC collateral score were determined in pre-treatment CT/CT angiography of 195 consecutive acute stroke patients treated with IV tPA "only". In addition, ISE-ASPECT score was created. Role of ISE on responsiveness to IV tPA, thrombolysis-associated hemorrhage and functional outcome were studied in 102 patients with CT-angiography-confirmed anterior system proximal vessel occlusion. Results: ISE was observed in 12 patients (6.2% of all and 11.4% of those with occlusion of the carotid terminus, Ml, or proximal M2) corresponding to excellent specificity (100%) but fair sensitivity (12%) for diagnosis of anterior cerebral circulation proximal artery occlusion. ISE ASPECT score was significantly correlated with rLMC score (p=0.023). Presence of ISE was linked to younger age, female gender, lower NIHSS, along with higher ASPECT and rLMC scores. Albeit not persisted after adjustment for collateral status and NIHSS, dramatic response to IV tPA along with excellent (23% vs. 8%, p<0.05), good (21% vs. 6%, p<0.05) and acceptable (19% vs. 4%, p<0.05) functional outcome were significantly higher in patients with ISE. Conclusions: As a plain CT marker of sufficient collateral status and increased cerebral blood volume, ISE indicates a better response to IV tPA. However, it should be noted that this relatively rare CT finding is highly specific for cerebral large vessel occlusions amenable neurothrombectomy.