Objective and importance: We describe the case of a patient in whom a snare designed for the removal of foreign bodies was successfully used to retrieve a thromboembolism from the middle cerebral artery. This technique can be used to reestablish blood flow when maximal pharmacological therapies have failed.
Clinical presentation: A 38-year-old man with scrotal squamous cell carcinoma presented with the abrupt onset of left hemiparesis and numbness. Computed tomography of the head showed no hemorrhage or hypodensity, and right middle cerebral artery thrombosis was suspected.
Intervention: Cerebral angiography demonstrated a near-total occlusion of the right middle cerebral artery at the M1-M2 junction. The administration of intra-arterial urokinase, systemic heparin, and systemic abciximab, and mechanical maceration failed to lyse the clot. A 4-mm goose-neck snare was guided through a microcatheter, and the clot was snared and withdrawn. Immediate postoperative angiography demonstrated the reconstitution of normal flow. Pathological examination of the snared material was consistent with clot. By postoperative Day 5, the patient had regained full strength, except for the fingers of the left hand, which remained moderately weak. Computed tomography demonstrated a right insular and extreme capsular infarct.
Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first reported use of a snare to remove clot in the setting of thromboembolic stroke. As the use of intra-arterial thrombolysis increases, transcatheter snare removal of pharmacologically resistant clot may be considered as a salvage strategy.