Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the world, and the provision of reperfusion therapy and endovascular therapy, in particular, have revolutionized the treatment of patients with stroke and opened opportunities to look at brain clots retrieved after the procedure. The use of histopathology and molecular profiling of clots is of growing research and clinical interest. However, its clinical implications and incorporation within stroke workflows remain suboptimal. Recent studies have indicated that the study of brain clots may inform the mechanism of stroke and hence guide treatment decision-making in select groups of patients, especially patients without a defined cause or known mechanism. This article provides a comprehensive overview of various clot histopathological examinations in acute stroke-care settings, their clinical utility, and existing gaps and opportunities for further research. We also provide targeted recommendations to improve clot analysis workflow, hence standardizing its incorporation into clinical practice.
Keywords: biomarkers; cryptogenic; diagnosis; histopathology; stroke; thrombectomy; thrombosis.