Purpose To develop a preclinical model of stroke with a large vessel occlusion treated with mechanical thrombectomy.
Materials and methods An ischemic stroke model was created in dogs by the introduction of an autologous clot into the middle cerebral artery (MCA). A microcatheter was navigated to the clot and a stent retriever thrombectomy was performed with the goal to achieve Thrombolysis in Cerebral Ischemia (TICI) 2b/3 reperfusion. Perfusion and diffusion MRI was acquired after clot placement and following thrombectomy to monitor the progression of restricted diffusion as well as changes in ischemia as a result of mechanical thrombectomy. Post-mortem histology was done to confirm MCA territory infarct volume.
Results Initial MCA occlusion with TICI 0 flow was documented in all six hound-cross dogs entered into the study. TICI 2b/3 revascularization was achieved with one thrombectomy pass in four of six animals (67%). Intra-procedural events including clot autolysis leading to spontaneous revascularization (n=1) and unresolved vasospasm (n=1) accounted for thrombectomy failure. In one case, iatrogenic trauma during microcatheter navigation resulted in a direct arteriovenous fistula at the level of the cavernous carotid. Analysis of MRI indicated that a volume of tissue from the initial perfusion deficit was spared with reperfusion following thrombectomy, and there was also a volume of tissue that infarcted between MRI and ultimate recanalization.
Conclusion We describe a large animal stroke model in which mechanical thrombectomy can be performed. This model may facilitate, in a preclinical setting, optimization of complex multimodal stroke treatment paradigms for clinical translation.
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