Mechanical thrombectomy for basilar artery thrombosis: a comparison of outcomes with anterior circulation occlusions

J Neurointerv Surg. 2017 Dec;9(12):1173-1178. doi: 10.1136/neurintsurg-2016-012797. Epub 2016 Dec 20.


Background and purpose: The benefits of mechanical thrombectomy (MT) in basilar artery occlusions (BAO) have not been explored in recent clinical trials. We compared outcomes and procedural complications of MT in BAO with anterior circulation occlusions.

Methods: Data from the Madrid Stroke Network multicenter prospective registry were analyzed, including baseline characteristics, procedure times, procedural complications, symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (SICH), modified Rankin Scale (mRS), and mortality at 3 months.

Results: Of 479 patients treated with MT, 52 (11%) had BAO. The onset to reperfusion time lapse was longer in patients with BAO (median (IQR) 385 min (320-540) vs 315 min (240-415), p<0.001), as was the duration of the procedures (100 min (40-130) vs 60 min (39-90), p=0.006). Moreover, the recanalization rate was lower (75% vs 84%, p=0.01). A trend toward more procedural complications was observed in patients with BAO (32% vs 21%, p=0.075). The frequency of SICH was 2% vs 5% (p=0.25). At 3 months, patients with BAO had a lower rate of independence (mRS 0-2) (40% vs 58%, p=0.016) and higher mortality (33% vs 12%, p<0.001). The rate of futile recanalization was 50% in BAO versus 35% in anterior circulation occlusions (p=0.05). Age and duration of the procedure were significant predictors of futile recanalization in BAO.

Conclusions: MT is more laborious and shows more procedural complications in BAO than in anterior circulation strokes. The likelihood of futile recanalization is higher in BAO and is associated with greater age and longer procedure duration. A refinement of endovascular procedures for BAO might help optimize the results.

Keywords: Complication; Intervention; Stroke; Thrombectomy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / surgery
  • Basilar Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Basilar Artery / surgery*
  • Brain Infarction / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Infarction / surgery
  • Endovascular Procedures / adverse effects
  • Endovascular Procedures / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stroke / diagnostic imaging
  • Stroke / surgery*
  • Thrombectomy / adverse effects
  • Thrombectomy / methods*
  • Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Thrombosis / surgery*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome