Cerebral Ischemic Reperfusion Injury Following Recanalization of Large Vessel Occlusions

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Although stroke has recently dropped to become the nation's fifth leading cause of mortality, it remains the top leading cause of morbidity and disability in the US. Recent advances in stroke treatment, including intravenous fibrinolysis and mechanical thromboembolectomy, allow treatment of a greater proportion of stroke patients than ever before. While intra-arterial fibrinolysis with recombinant tissue plasminogen is an effective for treatment of a broad range of acute ischemic strokes, endovascular mechanical thromboembolectomy procedures treat severe strokes due to large artery occlusions, often resistant to intravenous drug. Together, these procedures result in a greater proportion of revascularized stroke patients than ever before, up to 88% in 1 recent trial (EXTEND-IA). Subsequently, there is a growing need for neurointensivists to develop more effective strategies to manage stroke patients following successful reperfusion. Cerebral ischemic reperfusion injury (CIRI) is defined as deterioration of brain tissue suffered from ischemia that concomitantly reverses the benefits of re-establishing cerebral blood flow following mechanical or chemical therapies for acute ischemic stroke. Herein, we examine the pathophysiology of CIRI, imaging modalities, and potential neuroprotective strategies. Additionally, we sought to lay down a potential treatment approach for patients with CIRI following emergent endovascular recanalization for acute ischemic stroke.

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