The lytic recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) is the only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating ischemic stroke. Less than 40% of patients with large vessel occlusions who are treated with rt-PA have improved blood flow. However, up to 6% of all patients receiving rt-PA develop intracerebral hemorrhage. Predicting the efficacy of rt-PA treatment a priori could help guide therapeutic decision making, such that rt-PA is administered only to those individuals who would benefit from this treatment. Clot composition and structure affect the lytic efficacy of rt-PA and have an impact on elasticity. However, the relationship between clot elasticity and rt-PA lytic susceptibility has not been adequately investigated. The goal of this study was to quantify the relationship between clot elasticity and rt-PA susceptibility in vitro. Human and porcine highly retracted and mildly retracted clots were fabricated in glass pipettes. The rt-PA lytic susceptibility was evaluated in vitro using the percent clot mass loss. The Young's moduli of the clots were estimated using ultrasound-based single-track-location shear wave elasticity imaging. The percent mass loss in mildly retracted porcine and human clots (28.9 ± 6.1% and 45.2 ± 7.1%, respectively) was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than in highly retracted porcine and human clots (10.9 ± 2.1% and 25.5 ± 10.0%, respectively). Furthermore, the Young's moduli of highly retracted porcine and human clots (5.33 ± 0.92 and 3.21 ± 1.97 kPa, respectively) were significantly higher (p < 0.05) than those of mildly retracted porcine and human clots (2.66 ± 0.55 and 0.79 ± 0.21 kPa, respectively). The results revealed an inverse relationship between the percent clot mass loss and Young's modulus. These findings motivate continued investigation of ultrasound-based methods to assess clot stiffness in order to predict rt-PA thrombolytic efficacy.

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Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology
Department of Biomedical Engineering

Mercado-Shekhar, K.P. (Karla P.), Kleven, R.T. (Robert T.), Aponte Rivera, H. (Hermes), Lewis, R. (Ryden), Karani, K.B. (Kunal B.), Vos, R., … Holland, C. K. (2018). Effect of Clot Stiffness on Recombinant Tissue Plasminogen Activator Lytic Susceptibility in Vitro. Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology. doi:10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2018.08.005