Rapid reperfusion of the entire territory distal to vascular occlusions is the aim of stroke interventions. Recent studies defined successful reperfusion as establishing some perfusion with distal branch filling of <50% of territory visualized (Thrombolysis In Cerebral Infarction "TICI" 2a) or more. We investigate the importance of the quality of final reperfusion and whether a revision of the successful reperfusion definition is warranted. We retrospectively evaluated a prospective database of anterior circulation strokes treated using stentrievers to assess the quality of final reperfusion using two scores: the traditional TICI score and a modified TICI score. The modified TICI score includes an additional category (TICI 2c): near complete perfusion except for slow flow or distal emboli in a few distal cortical vessels. We compared different cut-off definitions of reperfusion (TICI 2a - 3 vs. TICI-2b-3 vs. TICI 2c-3) using the area under the curve to identify their correlation with a favorable 90-day outcome (mRS≤2). In our cohort of 110 patients, 90% achieved TICI 2a-3 reperfusion with 80% achieving TICI 2b-3 and 55.5% achieving TICI 2c-3. The proportion of patients with a favorable 90-day outcome was higher in the TICI 2c (62.5%) compared to TICI 2b (44.4%) or TICI 2a (45.5%) but similar to the TICI 3 group (75.9%). A TICI 2c-3 reperfusion had a better predictive value than TICI 2b-3 for 90-day mRS 0-1. Defining successful reperfusion as TICI 2c/3 has merits. In this cohort, there was evidence toward faster recovery and better outcomes in patients with the TICI 2c vs. the traditional TICI 2b grade.
Keywords: prognosis; stroke; thrombectomy.