Risk of Thrombus Fragmentation during Endovascular Stroke Treatment

Editor’s Choice

The authors evaluated the potential relationship between thrombus histology and clot stability in 85 patients with anterior circulation stroke treated with thrombectomy. The number and location of emboli after retrieving the primary thrombus, the number of maneuvers, and TICI scores were evaluated. H&E and neutrophil elastase staining of retrieved clots was performed. An inverse correlation between maneuvers required for thrombus retrieval and the number of distal and intermediate emboli was observed. Younger patients were at higher risk for periprocedural thrombus fragmentation. Bridging thrombolysis tended to be associated with fewer maneuvers but more emboli. They conclude that younger age, easy-to-retrieve thrombi, and bridging thrombolysis may be risk factors for periprocedural thrombus fragmentation. Higher neutrophil levels in the thrombus tissue were related to an increased risk of periprocedural thrombus fragmentation.

Abstract

Figure 1 from paper
DSA images in a lateral projection in a case of initial carotid-T occlusion (A). Dynamic images (delay = 1 second) after successful POS recanalization resulting in 1 proximal (filled arrow) and 1 intermediate embolus (open arrow) due to PTF (B–D).

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE

Periprocedural thrombus fragmentation is a relevant risk in endovascular stroke treatment. Because factors influencing its occurrence are largely unknown, this study addresses a potential relationship between thrombus histology and clot stability.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Eighty-five patients with anterior circulation stroke treated with thrombectomy were included in this retrospective study. The number and location of emboli after retrieving the primary thrombus, the number of maneuvers, and TICI scores were evaluated. H&E and neutrophil elastase staining of retrieved clots was performed, and semiquantitative measurements of thrombus components were correlated with procedural parameters.

RESULTS

An inverse correlation between maneuvers required for thrombus retrieval and the number of distal and intermediate emboli was observed (Spearman r, −0.23; P = .032). Younger patients were at higher risk for periprocedural thrombus fragmentation (Spearman r, −0.23; P = .032). Bridging thrombolysis tended to be associated with fewer maneuvers (2 vs 3, P = .054) but more emboli (1 vs 0, P = .067). While no consistent correlation between procedural parameters and red/white blood cells and fibrin-/platelet fractions could be found, higher amounts of neutrophil elastase–positive cells within the thrombus were independently associated with the occurrence of multiple emboli (adjusted OR, 4.6; 95% CI, 1.1–19.7; P = .041) and lower rates of complete recanalization (adjusted OR, 0.3; 95% CI, 0.1–0.9; P = .050).

CONCLUSIONS

Younger age, easy-to-retrieve thrombi, and bridging thrombolysis may be risk factors for periprocedural thrombus fragmentation. Findings from standard histologic stains did not provide insight into thrombectomy-relevant thrombus stability. However, higher neutrophil levels in the thrombus tissue were related to an increased risk of periprocedural thrombus fragmentation. This observation aligns with the proposed thrombolytic capacity of neutrophil elastase and points to its potential clinical relevance in the context of stroke thrombectomy.

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Risk of Thrombus Fragmentation during Endovascular Stroke Treatment
jross
Jeffrey Ross • Mayo Clinic, Phoenix

Dr. Jeffrey S. Ross is a Professor of Radiology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and practices neuroradiology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. His publications include over 100 peer-reviewed articles, nearly 60 non-refereed articles, 33 book chapters, and 10 books. He was an AJNR Senior Editor from 2006-2015, is a member of the editorial board for 3 other journals, and a manuscript reviewer for 10 journals. He became Editor-in-Chief of the AJNR in July 2015. He received the Gold Medal Award from the ASSR in 2013.