Background Comparative evaluation of long sheath performance in stroke thrombectomy has not been performed.
Objective To review an initial experience with the new Ballast 6F long sheath compared with the NeuronMax, to evaluate comparative benchmarks in trackability, navigability, and procedural outcomes.
Methods A prospectively maintained thrombectomy database was evaluated over a 6-month period to compare procedural and angiographic results between a cohort of patients treated with the historical institutional standard long sheath (NeuronMax) and another with the new Ballast long sheath via a transfemoral approach.
Results Of 156 stroke thrombectomy cases, 69 were performed using NeuronMax and 40 using Ballast via a transfemoral approach; the remainder of cases employed alternative long sheaths or were performed via initial radial access. There was no significant difference in patient age, medical history, baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score, Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score, arch type, tissue plasminogen activator use, and clot location between the two groups. Single-pass case frequency (41% for NeuronMax vs 44% for Ballast, p=0.84), and final successful revascularization (TICI 2b or greater) were similar between the two cohorts (91% vs 98%, p=0.42). Good 90-day outcome (modified Rankin Scale score 0–2) was also similar (33% for NeuronMax, 43% for Ballast, p=0.41). Excluding tandem occlusions, mean procedural time was 31 min for NeuronMax and 25 min for Ballast (p=0.09). Puncture to long sheath access and angiography in the base target vessel was faster for Ballast than NeuronMax (6.5 min vs 9.2 min, p=0.04).
Conclusion Among a cohort of practitioners with historical, preferential experience with NeuronMax for stroke thrombectomy, faster procedural times were achieved with Ballast with similar final angiographic results.
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