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Original research
A novel rabbit thromboembolic occlusion model


Background To develop a preclinical thromboembolic occlusion model for studying revascularization strategies.

Methods Clot analog with barium sulfate was injected into the distal aorta in 9 New Zealand white rabbits. The situation of aorta occlusion was compared among fibrin-rich (n=4), red blood cell (RBC)-rich (n=3), and whole blood clot analogs (n=2) using digital subtraction angiography. Arterial geometries, histologic features and circumferential stretch of the distal aorta in rabbits were compared with the common carotid artery in swine and the distal internal carotid artery (ICA) in humans. Aspiration thrombectomy and mechanical thrombectomy using a stent retriever were performed in two rabbits.

Results The aortic bifurcation was occluded after a single delivery of clot in 4 cases. It was occluded after the second clot injection in the 5 remaining rabbits. Fragmentation of RBC-rich clots occurred during clot injection in 2 cases. The mean diameters of the distal aorta and right common iliac artery in rabbits were 3.7±0.4 and 2.8±0.3 mm, respectively; the mean diameters of human ICA, and first and second segments of the middle cerebral artery (M1, M2) were 3.6±0.4, 3.1±0.4, and 2.4±0.4 mm, respectively. Arterial revascularization was achieved in both rabbits. Geometric, mechanical and histological factors of the distal aorta in rabbit were more close to human distal ICA than swine carotid artery.

Conclusion Arterial occlusion can be achieved at the aortic bifurcation in rabbits, which is comparable to human ICA bifurcation. This thrombectomy model has the potential to be used for testing of thrombectomy devices.

  • stroke
  • thrombectomy

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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