Objective Acute tandem occlusions of the extracranial internal carotid artery (ICA) and a major intracranial artery respond poorly to intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) and present an endovascular challenge. We describe our experience with emergency stent-assisted ICA angioplasty and intracranial stent-based thrombectomy of tandem occlusions.
Methods Procedures were performed from March 2010 to December 2013. National Institutes of Health Stroke Score (NIHSS) and Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score (ASPECTS), occlusion sites, collateral supply, procedural details, and outcomes were retrospectively reviewed with IRB waiver of informed consent.
Results 24 patients, mean age 66 years, mean admission NIHSS 20.4, and mean ASPECTS 9 were included. Occlusion sites were proximal ICA–middle cerebral artery (MCA) trunk in 17 patients, proximal ICA–ICA terminus in six, and ICA–MCA–anterior cerebral artery in one. Stent-assisted cervical ICA recanalization was achieved in all patients, with unprotected pre-angioplasty in 24/24, unprotected stenting in 16/24 (67%), and protected stenting in 8/24 (33%), followed by stent-thrombectomy in 25 intracranial occlusions. There was complete recanalization/complete perfusion in 19/24 (79%), complete recanalization/partial perfusion in 3/24 (13%), and partial recanalization/partial perfusion in 2/24 (8%) with no procedural morbidity/mortality. Mean time to therapy was 3.8 h (range 2–5.5) and mean time to recanalization was 51 min (range 38–69). At 3-month follow-up, among 17/22 surviving patients (77%), 13/17 (76%) were modified Rankin Scale (mRS) 0–2 and 3/17 (18%) were mRS 3.
Conclusions In acute tandem ICA–MCA/distal ICA occlusions, extracranial stenting followed by intracranial stent-based thrombectomy appears feasible, effective, and safe. Further evaluation of this treatment strategy is warranted.
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