Mechanical Thrombectomy for Large Ischemic Stroke: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Neurology. 2023 Aug 29;101(9):e922-e932. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000207536. Epub 2023 Jun 5.


Background and objectives: There is growing evidence for endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) in patients with large ischemic core infarct and large vessel occlusion (LVO). The objective of this study was to compare the efficacy and safety of EVT vs medical management (MM) using a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Methods: We searched the PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science databases to obtain articles related to mechanical thrombectomy for large ischemic core from inception until February 10, 2023. The primary outcome was independent ambulation (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] 0-3). Effect sizes were computed as risk ratio (RR) with random-effect or fixed-effect models. The quality of articles was evaluated through the Cochrane risk assessment tool and the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. This study was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42023396232).

Results: A total of 5,395 articles were obtained through the search and articles that did not meet the inclusion criteria were excluded by review of the title, abstract, and full text. Finally, 3 RCTs and 10 cohort studies met the inclusion criteria. The RCT analysis showed that EVT improved the 90-day functional outcomes of patients with large ischemic core with high-quality evidence, including independent ambulation (mRS 0-3: RR 1.78, 95% CI 1.28-2.48, p < 0.001) and functional independence (mRS 0-2: RR 2.59, 95% CI 1.89-3.57, p < 0.001), but without significantly increasing the risk of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (sICH: RR 1.83, 95% CI 0.95-3.55, p = 0.07) or early mortality (RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.78-1.16, p = 0.61). Analysis of the cohort studies showed that EVT improved functional outcomes of patients without an increase in the incidence in sICH.

Discussion: This systematic review and meta-analysis indicates that in patients with LVO stroke with a large ischemic core, EVT was associated with improved functional outcomes over MM without increasing sICH risk. The results of ongoing RCTs may provide further insight in this patient population.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Ischemia* / etiology
  • Brain Ischemia* / surgery
  • Endovascular Procedures* / methods
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Stroke* / etiology
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Stroke* / etiology
  • Stroke* / surgery
  • Thrombectomy / methods
  • Treatment Outcome