Background Mechanical thrombectomy has emerged as a standard of care for acute stroke from large vessel occlusion in adults but remains controversial in children. Cerebral vessels are nearly adult size by 5 years of age but the technical feasibility of achieving recanalization in younger and smaller children with current endovascular tools remains unclear.
Objective To systematically review the literature on mechanical thrombectomy for stroke in children less than 5 years of age.
Results Mechanical thrombectomy for acute stroke has been reported in 11 children under the age of 5 years (range 9 months to 4 years). The mean time from symptom onset to groin puncture was 12 hours (range 4–50 hours). Complete recanalization was achieved in 7/12 (58%) vessels attempted, and partial recanalization in 4/12 (33%). Two procedure related complications were reported, with small vessel size felt to be contributory to basilar vasospasm in one case. Favorable neurological outcomes were reported in 7 cases (64%).
Conclusions Our review of the literature demonstrates that mechanical thrombectomy for acute ischemic stroke may be feasible in carefully selected infants and young children less than 5 years of age using currently available devices. Efficacy in promoting better neurologic outcomes remains unproven, and other questions persist, including whether complications such as vasospasm occur more frequently in young children compared with adults. Further study is needed to determine the safety and efficacy of pediatric mechanical thrombectomy. These data suggest that young children should not be excluded from future studies or clinical treatment on the basis of age alone.
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