Mechanical Approaches Combined With Intra-Arterial Pharmacological Therapy Are Associated With Higher Recanalization Rates Than Either Intervention Alone in Revascularization of Acute Carotid Terminus Occlusion

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Abstract

Background and Purpose—

Acute stroke attributable to internal carotid artery terminus occlusion carries a poor prognosis. Vessel recanalization is crucial to improve clinical outcome. Historically, pharmacological thrombolysis alone has low recanalization rates. We sought to determine whether adjunctive mechanical approaches achieve better vessel recanalization and functional outcome.

Methods—

We retrospectively reviewed 75 consecutive endovascular cases of acute internal carotid artery terminus occlusions treated at our center between 1998 and 2008. Mechanical approaches (MERCI retrieval/angioplasty/stent) with and without adjunctive intra-arterial pharmacological therapy (urokinase or tissue plasminogen activator) was compared to intra-arterial lytics alone. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine predictors of recanalization (thrombolysis in myocardial infarction grades 2 to 3) and favorable functional outcome (modified Rankin score ≤2) at 3 months.

Results—

Lowest recanalization rates were observed with intra-arterial lytics alone (3/17, 17.6%). MERCI embolectomy combined with intra-arterial lytics was associated with the highest recanalization rates (18/21, 85.7%; P<0.0001). MERCI embolectomy alone achieved 46.2% recanalization rates (6/13; P=0.23). Angioplasty or stenting and intra-arterial lytics achieved 25% (2/8; P=0.65) and 40% (4/10; P=0.085) recanalization, respectively. In multivariate analysis, combination of MERCI embolectomy with intra-arterial lytics (OR, 16.2; CI, 4.6–77.6), or any mechanical technique with intra-arterial lytics (OR, 6.7; CI, 2.5–19.5) independently predicted thrombolysis in myocardial infarction 2 to 3 recanalization. Clinically significant parenchymal hemorrhage rates were 7.5% with combination (3/38) and 12.5% with pharmacological therapies (2/16; P=0.46). Using stepwise logistic regression, age (OR, 0.95; CI, 0.90–0.995), baseline NIHSS (OR, 0.82; CI, 0.70–0.96), and thrombolysis in myocardial infarction 2 to 3 recanalization (OR, 4.0; CI, 1.1–14.4) were associated with favorable functional outcome.

Conclusions—

Combined mechanical and intra-arterial pharmacological therapy is associated with higher recanalization rates than either intervention alone in acute internal carotid artery terminus occlusion revascularization.

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