Effective use of balloon guide catheters in reducing incidence of mechanical thrombectomy related distal embolization
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Background and purpose
The clinical benefit of endovascular stroke therapy has been demonstrated in several prospective randomized trials. However, in a relevant percentage of patients, mechanical thrombectomy bears the risk of causing new infarction in initially unaffected vascular territories through thrombus fragmentation and migration of clot debris. The goal of this study was to evaluate the use of the balloon guide catheter (BGC) to effectively achieve flow arrest and thrombus aspiration during the intervention to avoid distal embolization.
A retrospective study was performed in 139 patients between October 2010 and May 2016 to analyze occlusions in the middle cerebral artery (MCA) or internal carotid artery (ICA) by using a stent retriever with a BGC (n = 73) or a non-BGC (n = 66). The following data were collected: patient age and gender, along with history of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, smoking, obesity, dyslipidemia, and previous ischemic stroke. Data on procedure time, number of passes, and angiographic findings were also collected. The final reperfusion score was rated based on the Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction (TICI) grading scale. Successful recanalization was defined as TICI 3 or 2b.
A total of 139 patients underwent mechanical thrombectomy with the stent retriever. Of the 139 patients, 73 (52.5%) underwent placement of a BGC. The mean age was 65.8 ± 13.5 years, and the median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score was 11. The average initial NIHSS score was lower in the BGC group compared with the non-BGC group (mean, 11.2 ± 5.6 vs. 13.2 ± 5.6; P = 0.03). Patients with BGC had fewer incidences of previous ischemic stroke (12.3% vs. 28.8%; P = 0.01). The numbers of passes were similar between the two groups. The procedure time (99 ± 49.4 min vs. 124 ± 72.2 min; P = 0.02) and the time from onset of symptoms to procedure end (302 ± 102 min vs. 357.2 ± 136.1 min; P = 0.009) were shorter in the BGC group. TICI 3 or 2b recanalization scores were higher in the BGC group compared to the non-BGC group [63/73, 86.3% vs. 48/66, 72.7%; odds ratio (OR), 0.6; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.2–1.4; P = 0.04]. Importantly, distal embolization was less frequent in the BGC group (5/73, 6.8% vs. 21/66, 31.8%; OR, 6.3; 95% CI, 2.2–18.0; P < 0.001).
The risk of distal embolization was significantly decreased with the use of a BGC.
KeywordsMechanical thrombectomy Distal embolization Balloon-guided catheter
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
All authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements) or non-financial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.
No funding was received for this research.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study formal consent is not required.
Additional informed consent was obtained from all individual participants for whom identifying information is included in this article.
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