Early TICI 2b or Late TICI 3-Is Perfect the Enemy of Good?

Clin Neuroradiol. 2022 Jun;32(2):353-360. doi: 10.1007/s00062-021-01048-8. Epub 2021 Jun 30.


Background and purpose: A Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction (TICI) score of 3 has been established as therapeutic goal in endovascular therapy (EVT) for acute ischemic stroke; however, in the case of early TICI2b reperfusion, the question remains whether to stop the procedure or to continue in the pursuit of perfection (i.e., TICI 2c/3).

Methods: A total of 6635 patients were screened from the German Stroke Registry. Patients who underwent EVT for occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (M1 segment), with final TICI score of 2b/3 were included. Multivariable logistic regression was performed with functional independence (modified Rankin Scale, mRS at day 90 of 0-2) as the dependent variable.

Results: Of 1497 patients, 586 (39.1%) met inclusion criteria with a final TICI score of 2b and 911 (60.9%) with a TICI score of 3. Patients who achieved first-pass TICI3 showed highest odds of functional independence (Odds ratio [OR] 1.71, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.18-2.47). Patients who achieved TICI2b with the second pass (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.31-0.89) or with three or more passes (OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.27-0.70) had significantly worse clinical outcomes compared to first-pass TICI2b. TICI3 at the second pass was by trend better than first-pass TICI2b (OR 1.55, 95% CI 0.98-2.45), but TICI3 after 3 or more passes (OR 0.93, 95% CI 0.57-1.50) was not significantly different from first-pass TICI2b.

Conclusion: First-pass TICI2b was superior to TICI2b after ≥ 2 retrievals and comparable to TICI3 at ≥ 3 retrievals. The potential benefit in outcome after achieving TICI3 following further retrieval attempts after first-pass TICI2b need to be weighed against the risks.

Keywords: Endovascular therapy; Ischemic stroke; Prognostic factors; Retrievals; Thrombectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Ischemia* / therapy
  • Cerebral Infarction
  • Endovascular Procedures* / methods
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Stroke*
  • Reperfusion / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stroke* / therapy
  • Thrombectomy / methods
  • Treatment Outcome