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Original research
A technical comparison of thrombectomy vacuum aspiration systems


Introduction Improved functional outcomes after mechanical thrombectomy for emergent large vessel occlusion depend on expedient reperfusion after clinical presentation. Device technology has improved substantially over the years, and several commercial options exist for both large-bore aspiration catheters and suction pump systems.

Objective To compare various vacuum pumps and examine the aspiration forces they generate as well as the force of catheter tip detachment from an artificial thrombus.

Methods Using an artificial thrombus made from polyvinyl alcohol gel, we tested various mechanical characteristics of commercially available suction pumps, including the Penumbra Jet Engine, Penumbra Max, Stryker Medela AXS, Microvention Gomco, and a 60 cc syringe. Both aspiration pressure and tip force generated were analyzed. Subsequently, a cohort of thrombectomy catheters were assessed using the Penumbra Jet Engine to determine tip forces generated on an artificial thrombus. One-way analysis of variance was used to assess statistical significance.

Results The Penumbra Jet Engine system generated both the highest maximum aspiration pressures (28.8 inches Hg) and the highest tip force (23.68 grams force (gf)) on an artificial thrombus, with statistical significance compared with the other pump systems. Using the Jet Engine, the largest-bore catheter was associated with the highest tip force (32.12 gf). The overall correlation coefficient between catheter inner diameter and tip force was 0.98.

Conclusions The Penumbra Jet Engine pump generates significantly higher vacuum pressures and tip forces than the other commercially available aspiration pump systems. Furthermore, catheters with a larger inner diameter generate higher tip suction forces on aspiration. Whether these mechanical features lead to improved clinical outcomes is yet to be determined.

  • stroke
  • thrombectomy
  • catheter
  • angiography

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