Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States with a huge burden on health care. Acute ischemic stroke (AIS) accounts for 87% of all stroke. The use of thrombolytic agents in AIS treatment is well known since 1950 but no FDA approval until 1996, due to lack of strong evidence showing benefits outweigh the risk of intracranial hemorrhage.
The NINDS trial led to the approval of intravenous tissue plasminogen activator treatment (IV recombinant tPA) within 3 h of stroke. Due to this limitation of 3–4.5 h. window, evolution began in the development of effective endovascular therapy (EVT). Multiple trials were unsuccessful in establishing the strong evidence for effectiveness of EVT. In 2015, MR CLEAN trial made progress and showed improved outcomes with EVT in AIS patients with large vessel occlusion (LVO), with 6-h window period. In 2018, two major trials—DAWN and DEFUSE 3—along with few other trials had shown improved outcomes with EVT and stretched window period from 6 to 24 h. AHA Stroke Council is constantly working to provide focused guidelines and recommendations in AIS management since 2013. SVIN had started the initiative “Mission Thrombectomy-2020” to increase global EVT utilization rate 202,000 procedures by 2020. Physicians are using safer and easier approach like brachial and radial approach for EVT. TeleNeurology and artificial intelligence also played a significant role in increasing the availability of IV recombinant tPA in AIS treatment in remote hospitals and also in screening, triaging and identifying LVO patients for EVT.
In this review article, we aim to describe the history of stroke management along with the new technological advancements in AIS treatment.