Does mechanical thrombectomy in acute embolic stroke have long-term side effects on intracranial vessels? An angiographic follow-up study

Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol. 2013 Jun;36(3):629-36. doi: 10.1007/s00270-012-0496-8. Epub 2012 Oct 20.


Purpose: Mechanical thrombectomy (mTE) proved to be effective treating acute vessel occlusions with an acceptable rate of procedural complications. Potential long-term side effects of the vessel wall trauma caused by mechanical irritation of the endothelium are unknown up to now.

Methods: From a retrospectively established database of 640 acute stroke treatments, we selected 261 patients with 265 embolic vessel occlusions treated successfully by mTE without permanent implantation of a stent. Analysis comprised the type of devices used and the number of passes performed. Digital subtraction angiography immediately after treatment was evaluated for vasospasm, dissection, and extravasation. Control angiographic images were evaluated for any morphological change compared to the immediate posttreatment angiographic run.

Results: Recanalization was achieved with a median of one (range 1-10) mTE maneuvers. Vasospasm occurred in 69 territories (26.0 %) and was treated with glyceroltrinitrate in three. Dissection was observed in one vessel (0.4 %). Intraprocedural hemorrhage in two patients (0.8 %) was either wire or device induced. Follow-up digital subtraction angiography was available for 117 territories after a median of 107 days, revealing target vessel occlusion in one segment (0.9 %) and a de novo stenosis of four segments (3.4 %). All findings were clinically asymptomatic. Posttreatment vasospasm was more frequent in patients with de novo stenosis and occlusion (p = 0.038).

Conclusion: De novo stenoses and occlusions occur in a small proportion of patients after mTE. Because all lesions were clinically asymptomatic, this finding does not affect the overall benefit of the treatment. Vasospasm may predict late vessel wall changes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angiography, Digital Subtraction
  • Cerebral Angiography*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stents*
  • Stroke / diagnostic imaging*
  • Stroke / surgery*
  • Thrombectomy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vasospasm, Intracranial / epidemiology