The goal of this study is to understand how very elderly patients (VEP) after ischemic stroke are currently treated in a Stroke Unit (SU) Hub in Italy. We designed a retrospective monocentric study on patients admitted in the SU of “AO San Camillo Forlanini” over an 8-year period.
Data were collected among patients with acute ischemic stroke admitted to SU between January 2012 and December 2019. Patients were divided into three sub-groups: Adults (18-65 years); Elderly (66-85 years); and VEP (>85 years). Vascular risk factors and clinical variables as predictors of short-term clinical outcome were compared among age groups.
A total of 1979 patients were enrolled, 254 were VEP (12.8%). The proportion of VEP showed no significant modifications during the 8-year period (11.9% in 2012-2015 and 13.7% in 2016-2019; p=0.93). The proportion of women, hypertension and atrial fibrillation was significantly higher in VEP compared to other age groups (p<0.001). The rate of VEP being treated with rt-PA increased from 2012-2015 to 2016-2019 (from 12.8% to 25.5%, p<0.001). Endovascular thrombectomy was rarely performed in VEP (1.5% of VEP). Rt-PA treatment was associated with favorable outcome for all three age groups (p<0.05).
We showed that VEP present different vascular risk factor profiles, clinical features, and prognostic elements for short-term stroke outcome. Future studies will reveal whether we will observe an increasing trend in the use of rt-PA and endovascular thrombectomy and whether it will result in improved functional outcome for VEP.

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