Pre-hospital transdermal glyceryl trinitrate in patients with stroke mimics: Data from the RIGHT-2 randomised-controlled ambulance trial

Bronwyn Tunnage, Lisa J. Woodhouse, Mark Dixon, Craig Anderson, Sandeep Ankolekar, Jason Appleton, Lesley Cala, Timothy England, Kailash Krishnan, Diane Havard, Grant Mair, Keith Muir, Steve Phillips, John Potter, Christopher Price, Marc Randall, Thompson G. Robinson, Christine Roffe, Else Sandset, Niro SiriwardenaPolly Scutt, Joanna M. Wardlaw, Nikola Sprigg, Philip M. Bath

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Abstract

Background: Prehospital stroke trials will inevitably recruit patients with non-stroke conditions, so called stroke mimics. We undertook a pre-specified analysis to determine outcomes in patients with mimics in the second Rapid Intervention with Glyceryl trinitrate in Hypertensive stroke Trial (RIGHT-2).

Methods: RIGHT-2 was a prospective, multicentre, paramedic-delivered, ambulance-based, sham-controlled, participant-and outcome-blinded, randomised-controlled trial of transdermal glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) in adults with ultra-acute presumed stroke in the UK. Final diagnosis (intracerebral haemorrhage, ischaemic stroke, transient ischaemic attack, mimic) was determined by the hospital investigator. This pre-specified subgroup analysis assessed the safety and efficacy of transdermal GTN (5 mg daily for 4 days) versus sham patch among stroke mimic patients. The primary outcome was the 7-level modified Rankin Scale (mRS) at 90 days.

Results: Among 1149 participants in RIGHT-2, 297 (26%) had a final diagnosis of mimic (GTN 134, sham 163). The mimic group were younger, mean age 67 (SD: 18) vs 75 (SD: 13) years, had a longer interval from symptom onset to randomisation, median 75 [95% CI: 47,126] vs 70 [95% CI:45,108] minutes, less atrial fibrillation and a lower systolic blood pressure and Face-Arm-Speech-Time tool score than the stroke group. The three most common mimic diagnoses were seizure (17%), migraine or primary headache disorder (17%) and functional disorders (14%). At 90 days, the GTN group had a better mRS score as compared to the sham group (adjusted common odds ratio 0.54; 95% confidence intervals 0.34, 0.85; p = 0.008), a difference that persisted at 365 days. There was no difference in the proportion of patients who died in hospital, were discharged to a residential care facility, or suffered a serious adverse event.

Conclusions: One-quarter of patients suspected by paramedics to have an ultra-acute stroke were subsequently diagnosed with a non-stroke condition. GTN was associated with unexplained improved functional outcome observed at 90 days and one year, a finding that may represent an undetected baseline imbalance, chance, or real efficacy. GTN was not associated with harm.

Trial registration: This trial is registered with International Standard Randomised Controlled Trials Number ISRCTN 26986053.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
JournalBMC Emergency Medicine
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Ambulance
  • Functional stroke
  • Glyceryl trinitrate
  • Migraine
  • Mimic
  • Nitroglycerin
  • Paramedic
  • Seizures
  • Stroke

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