Similar admission NIHSS may represent larger tissue-at-risk in patients with right-sided versus left-sided large vessel occlusion

J Neurointerv Surg. 2022 Oct;14(10):985-991. doi: 10.1136/neurintsurg-2021-017785. Epub 2021 Oct 13.


Background: We investigated the effects of the side of large vessel occlusion (LVO) on post-thrombectomy infarct volume and clinical outcome with regard to admission National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score.

Methods: We retrospectively identified patients with anterior LVO who received endovascular thrombectomy and follow-up MRI. Applying voxel-wise general linear models and multivariate analysis, we assessed the effects of occlusion side, admission NIHSS, and post-thrombectomy reperfusion (modified Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction, mTICI) on final infarct distribution and volume as well as discharge modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score.

Results: We included 469 patients, 254 with left-sided and 215 with right-sided LVO. Admission NIHSS was higher in those with left-sided LVO (median (IQR) 16 (10-22)) than in those with right-sided LVO (14 (8-16), p>0.001). In voxel-wise analysis, worse post-thrombectomy reperfusion, lower admission NIHSS score, and poor discharge outcome were associated with right-hemispheric infarct lesions. In multivariate analysis, right-sided LVO was an independent predictor of larger final infarct volume (p=0.003). There was a significant three-way interaction between admission stroke severity (based on NIHSS), LVO side, and mTICI with regard to final infarct volume (p=0.041). Specifically, in patients with moderate stroke (NIHSS 6-15), incomplete reperfusion (mTICI 0-2b) was associated with larger final infarct volume (p<0.001) and worse discharge outcome (p=0.02) in right-sided compared with left-sided LVO.

Conclusions: When adjusted for admission NIHSS, worse post-thrombectomy reperfusion is associated with larger infarct volume and worse discharge outcome in right-sided versus left-sided LVO. This may represent larger tissue-at-risk in patients with right-sided LVO when applying admission NIHSS as a clinical biomarker for penumbra.

Keywords: MRI; brain; thrombectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Ischemia* / etiology
  • Cerebral Infarction / etiology
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stroke* / diagnostic imaging
  • Stroke* / etiology
  • Stroke* / surgery
  • Thrombectomy / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome