METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The Global Outcome Assessment Life-long after stroke in young adults (GOAL) initiative aims to perform a global individual patient data meta-analysis with existing data from young stroke cohorts worldwide. All patients aged 18-50 years with ischaemic stroke or intracerebral haemorrhage will be included. Outcomes will be the distribution of stroke aetiology and (vascular) risk factors, functional outcome after stroke, risk of recurrent vascular events and death and finally the use of secondary prevention. Subgroup analyses will be made based on age, gender, aetiology, ethnicity and climate of residence.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval for the GOAL study has already been obtained from the Medical Review Ethics Committee region Arnhem-Nijmegen. Additionally and when necessary, approval will also be obtained from national or local institutional review boards in the participating centres. When needed, a standardised data transfer agreement will be provided for participating centres. We plan dissemination of our results in peer-reviewed international scientific journals and through conference presentations. We expect that the results of this unique study will lead to better understanding of worldwide differences in risk factors, causes and outcome of young stroke patients.
METHODS: We did an international, randomised placebo-controlled trial in adults with intracerebral haemorrhage from acute stroke units at 124 hospital sites in 12 countries. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive 1 g intravenous tranexamic acid bolus followed by an 8 h infusion of 1 g tranexamic acid or a matching placebo, within 8 h of symptom onset. Randomisation was done centrally in real time via a secure website, with stratification by country and minimisation on key prognostic factors. Treatment allocation was concealed from patients, outcome assessors, and all other health-care workers involved in the trial. The primary outcome was functional status at day 90, measured by shift in the modified Rankin Scale, using ordinal logistic regression with adjustment for stratification and minimisation criteria. All analyses were done on an intention-to-treat basis. This trial is registered with the ISRCTN registry, number ISRCTN93732214.
FINDINGS: We recruited 2325 participants between March 1, 2013, and Sept 30, 2017. 1161 patients received tranexamic acid and 1164 received placebo; the treatment groups were well balanced at baseline. The primary outcome was assessed for 2307 (99%) participants. The primary outcome, functional status at day 90, did not differ significantly between the groups (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0·88, 95% CI 0·76-1·03, p=0·11). Although there were fewer deaths by day 7 in the tranexamic acid group (101 [9%] deaths in the tranexamic acid group vs 123 [11%] deaths in the placebo group; aOR 0·73, 0·53-0·99, p=0·0406), there was no difference in case fatality at 90 days (250 [22%] vs 249 [21%]; adjusted hazard ratio 0·92, 95% CI 0·77-1·10, p=0·37). Fewer patients had serious adverse events after tranexamic acid than after placebo by days 2 (379 [33%] patients vs 417 [36%] patients), 7 (456 [39%] vs 497 [43%]), and 90 (521 [45%] vs 556 [48%]).
INTERPRETATION: Functional status 90 days after intracerebral haemorrhage did not differ significantly between patients who received tranexamic acid and those who received placebo, despite a reduction in early deaths and serious adverse events. Larger randomised trials are needed to confirm or refute a clinically significant treatment effect.
FUNDING: National Institute of Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme and Swiss Heart Foundation.