Aspiration only versus stent retriever only thrombectomy in basilar artery occlusion: a propensity score-matched analysis of the German Stroke Registry

J Neurointerv Surg. 2024 May 15:jnis-2024-021797. doi: 10.1136/jnis-2024-021797. Online ahead of print.


Background: Endovascular treatment has become the standard care for acute basilar artery occlusion (BAO). Uncertainty persists about the optimal thrombectomy technique.

Objective: To compare aspiration thrombectomy with stent retriever thrombectomy in patients with BAO in a multicenter real-world patient population.

Methods: We analyzed data from the German Stroke Registry-Endovascular Treatment (GSR-ET). Patients with isolated BAO who underwent either aspiration or stent retriever thrombectomy were compared, including propensity score matching (PSM). The primary outcome measure was the modified Rankin Scale shift analysis at 90 days. Secondary outcomes included symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (sICH), procedure complications, and metrics.

Results: Of 13 082 patients in the GSR-ET, 387 patients (mean age 72.0±13.1 years; 45.0% female) fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The thrombectomy technique was aspiration only in 195 (50.4%) and stent retriever only in 192 (49.6%) patients. Functional outcome did not differ between the groups, either before (common OR (cOR) 0.94; 95% CI 0.64 to 1.38) or after PSM (cOR=1.37; 95% CI 0.90 to 2.09). There was no significant difference in sICH (2.6 vs 5.5%; P=0.231; OR=0.46; 95% CI 0.14 to 1.47), but aspiration thrombectomy demonstrated fewer procedure-related complications (4.6% vs 12.5%; P=0.017), a shorter procedure duration (24 vs 48 min; P<0.001), and higher first pass recanalization rates (75.1% vs 44.8%; P<0.001).

Conclusions: In this study both aspiration and stent retriever thrombectomy showed equal efficacy in terms of functional outcome in patients with BAO. However, procedure complications and metrics might favor aspiration over stent retriever thrombectomy.

Keywords: Stroke; Technique; Thrombectomy.