Regional Angiographic Grading System for Collateral Flow: Correlation With Cerebral Infarction in Patients With Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion

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Background and Purpose—

Collateral flow plays an important role in maintaining tissue viability in proximal large vessel occlusion. We developed and tested a regional angiographic collateral grading system for patients with angiographically confirmed acute symptomatic middle cerebral artery occlusion to predict regional infarction.


A subset of 42 patients was selected from 180 patients enrolled in the Prolyse in Acute Cerebral Thromboembolism II (PROACT II) trial. Readers evaluated baseline cerebral angiograms in a blinded fashion for the degree of regional collateral circulation, which was graded on a 4-point scale in each of 15 anatomic regions. Regional and total collateral flow scores were compared with the presence or absence of infarction on 7- to 10-day follow-up computed tomography (CT), as well as clinical outcome as assessed by National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) scores.


The collateral flow score on baseline angiography accurately predicted infarction, demonstrating a receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.87 (95% CI: 0.83 to 0.91) for all regions. Collateral grades on baseline angiography correlated moderately with infarct volume on follow-up CT scan at 7 to 10 days (R = 0.61; P = 0.0001). Collateral grades also correlated with follow-up NIHSS scores for patients who received thrombolysis (R = 0.36 to 0.49, P < 0.05), but not for control patients.


An angiographic grading system for regional collateral flow accurately predicts the extent and location of cerebral infarction. This study corroborates the correlation between the presence of collateral flow, infarction volume, and clinical outcome, and it reinforces the need to control for collateral flow in clinical trials.

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