Measurement of the optic nerve sheath diameter (ONSD) with ultrasound enables non-invasive and indirect assessment of increased intracranial pressure (ICP). Although most of the studies were employed with traumatic brain injury patients, it’s increasingly popular in acute ischemic stroke (AIS) studies.
Evaluating whether using ONSD as a follow-up measurement would help monitor the thrombolytic therapy (TT) effectiveness and determine the high-risk patients for malignant middle cerebral artery (MCA) syndrome.
This prospective observational study was conducted between August 1, 2019, and February 1, 2020, in a tertiary hospital. Forty-four patients were eligible. We determined the TT moment as the time when the first ocular ultrasound measurement would be made (time 0). Also, we decided on the 24 h after the treatment as the time to perform the second ocular ultrasound measurement (time 24). The National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), and the Alberta Stroke Program Early Computed Tomography (ASPECT) scores were evaluated blindly at the time-0 and the time-24. The cut-off value of ONSD was 0.55 mm.
There was no difference in ONSD results before and after the TT (p = 0.414). But, patients with an equal or higher value than cut-off had an increased risk for complications such as malignant-MCA, bleeding, seizure, etc. (p = 0.05). Malignant-MCA was observed in four patients with higher ONSD values. At the time-24, NIHSS decreased, GCS and ASPECT scores increased. Finally, ONSD was positively correlated with the NIHSS and negatively correlated with the GCS at the time-24.
Monitoring ONSD values in both the emergency department and the intensive care unit may be useful in the early diagnosis of MCA stroke complications and the follow-up of TT’s effectiveness.

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