The ThRombolysis in UnconTrolled Hypertension (TRUTH) protocol: an observational study on treatment strategy of elevated blood pressure in stroke patients eligible for IVT

T. P. Zonneveld, A. Algra, D. W. J. Dippel, L. J. Kappelle, R. J. van Oostenbrugge, Y. B. W. E. M. Roos, M. J. Wermer, H. B. van der Worp, P. J. Nederkoorn, N. D. Kruyt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) with (recombinant) tissue plasminogen activator is an effective treatment in acute ischemic stroke. However, IVT is contraindicated when blood pressure is above 185/110 mmHg, because of an increased risk on symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage. In current Dutch clinical practice, two distinct strategies are used in this situation. The active strategy comprises lowering blood pressure with antihypertensive agents below these thresholds to allow start of IVT. In the conservative strategy, IVT is administered only when blood pressure drops spontaneously below protocolled thresholds. A retrospective analysis in two recent stroke trials showed a non-significant signal towards better functional outcome in the active group; robust evidence for either strategy, however, is lacking. We hypothesize that (I) the active strategy leads to a better functional outcome three months after acute ischemic stroke. Secondary hypotheses are that this effect occurs despite (II) increasing the number of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhages, and could be attributable to (III) a higher rate of IVT treatments and (IV) a shorter door-to-needle time. Methods and design: The TRUTH is a prospective, observational, cluster-based, parallel group follow-up study; in which participating centers continue their current local treatment guidelines. Outcomes of patients admitted to centers with an active will be compared to those admitted to centers with a conservative strategy. The primary outcome is functional outcome on the modified Rankin Scale at three months. Secondary outcomes are symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage, IVT treatment and door-to-needle time. We based our sample size estimate on an ordinal analysis of the mRS with the "proportional odds" model. With the aforementioned signal observed in a recent retrospective study in these patients as an estimate of the effect size and with alpha 0 . 05, this analysis would have an 80 % power with a total number of 600 patients. Corrections for expected imbalance in group size and clustering effects resulted in a sample size of 1235 patients. Discussion: The TRUTH is the first large prospective study specifically studying IVT-candidates with elevated blood pressure, and has the potential to change clinical practice and optimize acute stroke care in these patients.
Original languageEnglish
Article number241
JournalBMC Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2015


  • Ischemic stroke
  • Intravenous thrombolysis
  • Blood pressure treatment


Dive into the research topics of 'The ThRombolysis in UnconTrolled Hypertension (TRUTH) protocol: an observational study on treatment strategy of elevated blood pressure in stroke patients eligible for IVT'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this