Intra-arterial therapy for acute ischemic stroke: a golden age

Curr Treat Options Neurol. 2015 Jul;17(7):360. doi: 10.1007/s11940-015-0360-7.


With the recent publication of multiple trials demonstrating the superiority of the endovascular treatment of patients presenting with stroke from large vessel occlusion (LVO) over medical management, the emergent care of these patients is entering a new era. This realization justifies an aggressive treatment approach with these stroke patients, given the poor natural history of the disease. In general, treatment should occur as quickly as is reasonably possible. Patients with NIHSS >8 should be considered, and if <6 h from onset imaging selection achieved with CT and CTA. Those with ASPECTS >5, LVO and intermediate or good collaterals should be treated emergently. For patients with clinical deficits presenting in later timeframes MRI should be used to define core infarct size and therefore treatment eligibility. MRI might also be considered for the workup of stroke patients in centers that can offer it rapidly. Recanalization should be attempted with a stentriever or using a direct aspiration technique, with the patient under conscious sedation rather than general anesthesia, if that is a safe option. Angiographically, the goal is reperfusion of mTICI 2b/3. Post-procedure, the patient should be admitted to an intensive care setting and assessed for inpatient rehabilitation placement as soon as stable. Continuous institutional process improvement ensures that optimization of treatment times and logistics is an ongoing endeavor. Finally, patient outcomes should be assessed at three months, most commonly using the modified Rankin score.