Background and purpose: Endovascular therapy is used increasingly for treatment of acute symptomatic internal carotid artery (ICA) occlusion, although randomized trials are lacking. Predictors of outcome are therefore of special interest.
Methods: From 1992 to 2010 we treated 201 patients with acute ICA occlusion with intra-arterial pharmacological thrombolysis (32), endovascular mechanical therapy (78) or a combination of both (91). All data were assessed prospectively.
Results: There were 76/38% patients with tandem occlusions [ICA plus middle (MCA) or anterior cerebral arteries (ACA)], 18/9% without concomitant occlusions of major intracranial arteries (ICA plus branch occlusion) and 107/53% with functional ICA-T occlusions (ICA plus MCA and ACA). Median baseline National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score was 17. Good recanalization (Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction 2-3) was achieved in (157/201) 78% patients and good reperfusion (Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction 2-3) in (151/182) 83%. Better recanalization rates were obtained with mechanical approaches, with/without thrombolytics (78/91 = 86% and 64/78 = 82%) compared with pharmacological thrombolysis only (15/32 = 47%; P < 0.001). Twelve patients (6%) suffered symptomatic intracranial haemorrhages. The 3-month outcome was favourable [modified Rankin score (mRS) 0-2] in 54/28% patients and moderate (mRS 0-3) in 90/46%; 60/31% patients died. Only 17/16% patients with functional ICA-T occlusions had favourable outcomes compared with 32/44% with tandem occlusions and 5/31% with ICA plus cerebral branch occlusions (P = 0.001). In multivariate analysis age [odds ratio (OR) = 0.96, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.93-0.98], NIHSS on admission (OR = 0.9, 95% CI = 0.83-0.98) and functional ICA-T occlusion (OR = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.16-0.77) were non-modifiable predictors, and vessel recanalization was the only modifiable predictor of outcome (OR = 9.30, 95% CI = 2.03-42.63).
Conclusions: The outcome of acute symptomatic ICA occlusion is poor. However, recanalization is associated with better outcome, and recanalization rates with mechanical techniques were superior to merely pharmacological recanalization attempts.
© 2013 The Author(s) European Journal of Neurology © 2013 EFNS.