Erythrocyte-Rich Thrombus Is Associated with Reduced Number of Maneuvers and Procedure Time in Patients with Acute Ischemic Stroke Undergoing Mechanical Thrombectomy

Cerebrovasc Dis Extra. 2018;8(1):39-49. doi: 10.1159/000486042. Epub 2018 Jan 15.


Background: Only few studies have investigated the relationship between the histopathology of retrieved thrombi and clinical outcomes. This study aimed to evaluate thrombus composition and its association with clinical, laboratory, and neurointerventional findings in patients treated by mechanical thrombectomy due to acute large vessel occlusion.

Methods: At our institution, 79 patients were treated by mechanical thrombectomy using a stent retriever and/or aspiration catheter between August 2015 and August 2016. The retrieved thrombi were quantitatively analyzed to quantify red blood cells, white blood cells, and fibrin by area. We divided the patients into two groups - a fibrin-rich group and an erythrocyte-rich group - based on the predominant composition in the thrombus. The groups were compared for imaging, clinical, and neurointerventional data.

Results: The retrieved thrombi from 43 patients with acute stroke from internal carotid artery, middle cerebral artery, or basilar artery occlusion were histologically analyzed. Erythrocyte-rich thrombi were present in 18 cases, while fibrin-rich thrombi were present in 25 cases. A cardioembolic etiology was significantly more prevalent among the patients with fibrin-rich thrombi than among those with erythrocyte-rich thrombi. Attenuation of thrombus density as shown on computed tomography images was greater in patients with erythrocyte-rich thrombi than in those with fibrin-rich thrombi. All other clinical and laboratory characteristics remained the same. Patients with erythrocyte-rich thrombi had a smaller number of recanalization maneuvers, shorter procedure times, a shorter time interval between arrival and recanalization, and a higher percentage of stent retrievers in the final recanalization procedure. The occluded vessels did not differ significantly.

Conclusions: In this study, erythrocyte-rich thrombus was associated with noncardioembolic etiology, higher thrombus density, and reduced procedure time.

Keywords: Acute ischemic stroke; Computed tomography; Endovascular revascularization; Pathology; Thrombus formation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Ischemia / epidemiology
  • Brain Ischemia / etiology
  • Brain Ischemia / pathology*
  • Brain Ischemia / surgery
  • Cerebral Angiography / instrumentation
  • Cerebral Revascularization / methods*
  • Endovascular Procedures / methods
  • Erythrocytes / cytology
  • Erythrocytes / pathology*
  • Female
  • Fibrin / analysis
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Mechanical Thrombolysis / instrumentation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Operative Time
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Stents / statistics & numerical data
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Stroke / pathology*
  • Stroke / surgery
  • Thrombectomy / methods*
  • Thrombosis / blood*
  • Thrombosis / pathology
  • Thrombosis / physiopathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Fibrin