Background Mechanical thrombectomy (MT) has become the cornerstone of acute ischemic stroke management in patients with large vessel occlusion (LVO). The aim of this guideline document is to assist physicians in their clinical decisions with regard to MT.
Methods These guidelines were developed based on the standard operating procedure of the European Stroke Organisation, and followed the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. An interdisciplinary working group identified 15 relevant questions, performed systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the literature, assessed the quality of the available evidence, and wrote evidence based recommendations. Expert opinion was provided if not enough evidence was available to provide recommendations based on the GRADE approach.
Results We found high quality evidence to recommend MT plus best medical management (BMM, including intravenous thrombolysis whenever indicated) to improve functional outcome in patients with LVO related acute ischemic stroke within 6 hours after symptom onset. We found moderate quality of evidence to recommend MT plus BMM in the 6–24 hour time window in patients meeting the eligibility criteria of published randomized trials. These guidelines further detail aspects of prehospital management, patient selection based on clinical and imaging characteristics, and treatment modalities.
Conclusions MT is the standard of care in patients with LVO related acute stroke. Appropriate patient selection and timely reperfusion are crucial. Further randomized trials are needed to inform clinical decision making with regard to the mothership and drip-and-ship approaches, anesthaesia modalities during MT, and to determine whether MT is beneficial in patients with low stroke severity or large infarct volume.
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Endorsed by Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE)
Contributors All contributed.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests Intellectual and financial disclosures of working group members are presented in Supplemental table I
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
Presented at This article is co-published in the European Stroke Journal, February 2019.
Patient consent for publication Not required.