Complications of endovascular treatment for acute stroke in the SWIFT trial with solitaire and Merci devices

AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2014 Mar;35(3):524-8. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A3707. Epub 2013 Sep 12.


Background and purpose: Treatment of patients with ischemic stroke after endovascular treatment requires in-depth knowledge of complications. The goal of this study was to make endovascular treatment for acute ischemic stroke safer through an in-depth review of the major periprocedural complications observed in the Solitaire FR With Intention for Thrombectomy (SWIFT) trial.

Materials and methods: The SWIFT data base was searched for major peri-procedural complications defined as symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage within 36 hours, SAH, air emboli, vessel dissection, major groin complications, and emboli to new vascular territories.

Results: Major peri-procedural complications occurred in 18 of 144 patients (12.5%) as follows: symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage, 4.9%; air emboli, 1.4%; vessel dissection, 4.2%; major groin complications, 2.8%; and emboli to new vascular territories, 0.7%. Rates of symptomatic intracranial bleeding by subtype were PH1, 0.7%; PH2, 0.7% (PH1 indicates hematoma within ischemic field with some mild space-occupying effect but involving ≤ 30% of the infarcted area; PH2, hematoma within ischemic field with space-occupying effect involving >30% of the infarcted area); intracranial hemorrhage remote from ischemic zone, 0%; intraventricular hemorrhage, 0.7%; and SAH, 3.5%. We did not observe any statistically significant associations of peri-procedural complications with age; type of treatment center; duration of stroke symptoms; NIHSS score, IV thrombolytics, atrial fibrillation, site of vessel occlusion; rescue therapy administered after endovascular treatment; or device. Comparing the Merci with the Solitaire FR retrieval device, we observed symptomatic cerebral hemorrhage (10.9% versus 1.1%; P = .013); symptomatic SAH (7.3% versus 1.1%; P = .07), air emboli (1.8% versus 1.1%; P = 1.0), emboli to new vascular territories (1.8% versus 0%; P = .38), vessel dissection (1.8% versus 4.5%; P = .65), and major groin complications (3.6% versus 7.9%; P = .48). Angiographic vasospasm was common but without clinical sequelae.

Conclusions: Understanding of procedural complications is important for treatment of patients with stroke after endovascular treatment. We observed fewer endovascular complications with the Solitaire FR device treatment compared with Merci device treatment, particularly symptomatic cerebral hemorrhage.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Endovascular Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Endovascular Procedures / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stroke / surgery*
  • Thrombectomy
  • Young Adult