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Systematic review and meta-analysis of current rates of first pass effect by thrombectomy technique and associations with clinical outcomes


Background First pass effect (FPE) in mechanical thrombectomy is thought to be associated with good clinical outcomes.

Objective To determine FPE rates as a function of thrombectomy technique and to compare clinical outcomes between patients with and without FPE.

Methods In July 2020, a literature search on FPE (defined as modified Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction (TICI) 2c–3 after a single pass) and modified FPE (mFPE, defined as TICI 2b–3 after a single pass) and mechanical thrombectomy for stroke was performed. Using a random-effects meta-analysis, we evaluated the following outcomes for both FPE and mFPE: overall rates, rates by thrombectomy technique, rates of good neurologic outcome (modified Rankin Scale score ≤2 at day 90), mortality, and symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH) rate.

Results Sixty-seven studies comprising 16 870 patients were included. Overall rates of FPE and mFPE were 28% and 45%, respectively. Thrombectomy techniques shared similar FPE (p=0.17) and mFPE (p=0.20) rates. Higher odds of good neurologic outcome were found when we compared FPE with non-FPE (56% vs 41%, OR=1.78) and mFPE with non-mFPE (57% vs 44%, OR=1.73). FPE had a lower mortality rate (17% vs 25%, OR=0.62) than non-FPE. FPE and mFPE were not associated with lower sICH rate compared with non-FPE and non-mFPE (4% vs 18%, OR=0.41 for FPE; 5% vs 7%, OR=0.98 for mFPE).

Conclusions Our findings suggest that approximately one-third of patients achieve FPE and around half of patients achieve mFPE, with equivalent results throughout thrombectomy techniques. FPE and mFPE are associated with better clinical outcomes.

  • stroke
  • thrombectomy

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