Purpose Stent retriever-based mechanical thrombectomy (MT) for emergent large vessel occlusions (ELVO) is often complicated by thrombus fragmentation causing distal embolization and embolization to new vascular territories. Well-established embolic protection approaches include proximal flow arrest and distal aspiration techniques during stent retriever maneuvers. Aiming at the reduction of thrombus fragmentation during MT we evaluated a technical approach combining proximal balloon occlusion together with direct thrombus aspiration during MT: the PROTECT technique.
Methods We performed a case-control study comparing the PROTECT technique with sole distal aspiration during MT regarding technical and procedural parameters, n=200 patients with ELVO of either the terminus of the internal carotid artery or the proximal middle artery were included.
Results PROTECT resulted in a shorter procedure time (29 vs 40 min; P=0.002), in a higher rate of successful recanalizations (100% vs 78%; P=0.001) and a higher rate of complete reperfusions (70% vs 39%; P<0.001) compared with sole distal aspiration during MT.
Conclusion The PROTECT technique is a promising new approach to significantly reduce thrombus fragmentation and, hence distal embolization during MT. This safe and efficient technique needs to be validated in larger trials to confirm our results.
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