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Intravenous Thrombolysis in Patients with Stroke Taking Rivaroxaban Using Drug Specific Plasma Levels: Experience with a Standard Operation Procedure in Clinical Practice

David J Seiffge, Christopher Traenka, Alexandros A Polymeris, Sebastian Thilemann, Benjamin Wagner, Lisa Hert, Mandy D Müller, Henrik Gensicke, Nils Peters, Christian H Nickel, Christoph Stippich, Raoul Sutter, Stephan Marsch, Urs Fisch, Raphael Guzman, Gian Marco De Marchis, Philippe A Lyrer, Leo H Bonati, Dimitrios A Tsakiris, Stefan T Engelter
Journal of Stroke 2017, 19 (3): 347-355

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Standard operating procedures (SOP) incorporating plasma levels of rivaroxaban might be helpful in selecting patients with acute ischemic stroke taking rivaroxaban suitable for IVthrombolysis (IVT) or endovascular treatment (EVT).

METHODS: This was a single-center explorative analysis using data from the Novel-Oral-Anticoagulants-in-Stroke-Patients-registry ( including acute stroke patients taking rivaroxaban (September 2012 to November 2016). The SOP included recommendation, consideration, and avoidance of IVT if rivaroxaban plasma levels were <20 ng/mL, 20‒100 ng/mL, and >100 ng/mL, respectively, measured with a calibrated anti-factor Xa assay. Patients with intracranial artery occlusion were recommended IVT+EVT or EVT alone if plasma levels were ≤100 ng/mL or >100 ng/mL, respectively. We evaluated the frequency of IVT/EVT, door-to-needle-time (DNT), and symptomatic intracranial or major extracranial hemorrhage.

RESULTS: Among 114 acute stroke patients taking rivaroxaban, 68 were otherwise eligible for IVT/EVT of whom 63 had plasma levels measured (median age 81 years, median baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale 6). Median rivaroxaban plasma level was 96 ng/mL (inter quartile range [IQR] 18‒259 ng/mL) and time since last intake 11 hours (IQR 4.5‒18.5 hours). Twenty-two patients (35%) received IVT/EVT (IVT n=15, IVT+EVT n=3, EVT n=4) based on SOP. Median DNT was 37 (IQR 30‒60) minutes. None of the 31 patients with plasma levels >100 ng/mL received IVT. Among 14 patients with plasma levels ≤100 ng/mL, the main reason to withhold IVT was minor stroke (n=10). No symptomatic intracranial or major extracranial bleeding occurred after treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Determination of rivaroxaban plasma levels enabled IVT or EVT in one-third of patients taking rivaroxaban who would otherwise be ineligible for acute treatment. The absence of major bleeding in our pilot series justifies future studies of this approach.


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