Intra-arterial therapy (IAT) for ischemic stroke aims to save brain tissue. Collaterals are thought to contribute to prolonged penumbra sustenance. In this study, we investigate the effect of collateral status on brain tissue salvage with IAT. In 500 patients randomized between IAT and standard care, collateral status was graded from 0 (absent) to 3 (good). Final infarct volumes (FIV) were calculated on post-treatment CT. FIVs were compared between treatment groups per collateral grade. Multivariable linear regression with interaction terms was performed to study whether collaterals modified IAT effect on FIV. Four-hundred-forty-nine patients were included in the analysis. Median FIV for the IAT group was significantly lower with 54.5 mL (95% IQR: 21.8-145.0) than for the controls with 81.8 mL (95% IQR: 40.0-154.0) ( p = 0.020). Treatment effect differed across collateral grades, although there was no significant interaction (unadjusted p = 0.054; adjusted p = 0.105). For grade 3, IAT resulted in a FIV reduction of 30.1 mL ( p = 0.024). For grade 2 and 1, this difference was, respectively, 28.4 mL ( p = 0.028) and 28.4 mL ( p = 0.29). For grade 0, this was 88.6 mL ( p = 0.28) in favour of controls. IAT saves substantially more brain tissue as compared to standard care. We observed a trend of increasing effect of IAT with higher collateral grades.
Keywords: Acute ischemic stroke; collateral circulation; final infarct volume; intra-arterial therapy; treatment effect.