Race/ethnic differences in the risk of hemorrhagic complications among patients with ischemic stroke receiving thrombolytic therapy

Rajendra H. Mehta, Margueritte Cox, Eric E. Smith, Ying Xian, Deepak L. Bhatt, Gregg C. Fonarow, Eric D. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE - : Race/ethnic-related differences in safety of intravenous thrombolytic therapy have been shown in patients with myocardial infarction, but not studied in ischemic stroke. METHODS - : Using data from the Get With The Guidelines (GWTG)-Stroke program (n=54 334), we evaluated differences in risk-adjusted bleeding rates (any, symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage [sICH], serious life-threatening [excluding sICH], or other) and mortality in white (n=40 411), black (n=8243), Hispanic (n=4257), and Asian (n=1523) patients receiving intravenous tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) for acute ischemic stroke. RESULTS - : Compared with white patients, overall adjusted hemorrhagic complications after tPA were higher in black (odds ratio, 1.14, 95% confidence interval, 1.04-1.28) and Asian (odds ratio, 1.36, 95% confidence interval, 1.14-1.61) patients. Overall adjusted bleeding complications in Hispanics were similar to those of whites. Increased risk of overall bleeding in Asians was related to higher risk of adjusted sICH (odds ratio, 1.47, 95% confidence interval, 1.19-1.82), whereas in blacks, it was related to higher risk of other bleeding. No significant race-related difference was noted in risk of serious or life-threatening bleeding or in overall mortality or death in patients with sICH or any hemorrhagic complications. CONCLUSIONS - : In patients with stroke receiving tPA, hemorrhagic complications were slightly higher in blacks and Asians, but not in Hispanics compared with whites. Asians also faced significantly higher risk for sICH relative to other race/ethnic groups. Future studies are needed to evaluate whether reduction in tPA dose similar to that used in many Asian countries could improve the safety of tPA therapy in Asians in the United States with acute ischemic strokes while maintaining efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2263-2269
Number of pages7
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • outcome
  • race and ethnicity
  • stroke
  • thrombolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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