Impact of interhospital transfer vs. direct admission on acute ischemic stroke patients: A subset analysis of the COMPLETE registry

The COMPLETE Registry Investigators

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Background: Efficacy of thrombectomy treatment in acute ischemic stroke large vessel occlusion (AIS-LVO) patients is time dependent. Direct admission to thrombectomy centers (vs. interhospital transfer) may reduce time to treatment and improve outcomes. In this subset analysis of the COMPLETE registry, we compared outcomes between direct to thrombectomy center (Direct) vs. transfer from another hospital to thrombectomy center (Transfer) in AIS-LVO patients treated with aspiration thrombectomy. Methods: COMPLETE was a prospective, international registry that enrolled patients from July 2018 to October 2019, with a 90-day follow-up period that was completed in January 2020. Imaging findings and safety events were adjudicated by core lab and independent medical reviewers, respectively. Pre-defined primary endpoints included post-procedure angiographic revascularization (mTICI ≥2b), 90-day functional outcome (mRS 0–2), and 90-day all-cause mortality. Planned collections of procedural time metrics and outcomes were used in the present post-hoc analysis to compare outcomes between transfer and direct patient cohorts. Results: Of 650 patients enrolled, 343 were transfer [52.8% female; mean (SD) age, 68.2 (13.9) years], and 307 were direct [55.4% female; 68.5 (14.5) years] admit. Median onset-to-puncture time took longer in the transfer vs. direct cohort (5.65 vs. 3.18 h: 2.33 h difference, respectively; p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in successful revascularization rate, mTICI ≥2b (88.3 and 87.3%), sICH at 24 h (3.8 and 3.9%), median length of hospital stay (7 and 6 days), and 90-day mortality (16.9 and 14.0%) between transfer vs. direct patients, respectively. However, achieving 90-day functional independence was less likely in transfer compared with direct patients (mRS 0–2 was 50.3 vs. 61.7%, p = 0.0056). Conclusions: In the COMPLETE registry, direct to thrombectomy center was associated with significantly shorter onset-to-puncture times, and higher rates of good clinical outcome across different geographies. Additional research should focus on AIS-LVO detection to facilitate direct routing of patients to appropriate treatment centers. Clinical trial registration: (Unique identifier: NCT03464565).

Original languageEnglish
Article number896165
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
StatePublished - 9 Aug 2022


  • acute ischemic stroke
  • aspiration thrombectomy
  • interhospital transfer
  • large vessel occlusion (LVO)
  • stroke systems of care


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