Thrombolysis after protamine reversal of heparin for acute ischemic stroke after cardiac catheterization: case report and literature review


Aurora Cardiovascular Services, Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center, Aurora Sinai Medical Center, Aurora Research Institute


BACKGROUND: Patients with an acute ischemic stroke (AIS) following cardiac catheterization (CC) generally do not receive intravenous thrombolysis [intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV-tPA)] as it is contraindicated due to the coagulopathy related to the heparin used during the procedure. We report a case of AIS successfully treated with IV thrombolysis following protamine reversal of heparin effect.

CASE REPORT: An 87-year-old man with diabetes mellitus, hypertension, neurofibromatosis, and hyperlipidemia underwent elective transradial CC following an abnormal stress test. He had 2 drug-eluting stents for severe stenosis of mid-circumflex and right coronary arteries and received heparin 13,000 IU during procedure. He developed acute left hemiparesis with initial NIH stroke scale (NIHSS) of 4. Computed tomographic scan of the brain and computed tomographic angiogram of head and neck were unremarkable. Bedside activated clotting time was 181. Protamine 40 mg was administered and 30 minutes later, the activated clotting time level was normalized. IV-tPA was administered at 4 hours 25 minutes from his last known well. Within 15 minutes, his NIHSS was 0. Magnetic resonance imaging of brain showed no acute infarction 24 hours after stroke.

CONCLUSIONS: There are limited reports of protamine reversal of heparin before IV-tPA administration. To our knowledge, there are only 6 AIS cases including ours. Three cases received 0.6 mg/kg of tPA dose. All have favorable outcomes and no intracranial hemorrhage was reported. Protamine reversal of heparin for AIS after CC seems to be safe. Further studies are needed to confirm the therapeutic safety and efficacy of this strategy.

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