Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original research
Feasibility and safety of thrombectomy for isolated occlusions of the posterior cerebral artery: a multicenter experience and systematic literature review
  1. Lukas Meyer1,
  2. Panagiotis Papanagiotou2,3,
  3. Maria Politi2,
  4. Andreas Kastrup4,
  5. Christoffer Kraemer5,
  6. Uta Hanning1,
  7. Helge Kniep1,
  8. Gabriel Broocks1,
  9. Sara Magdalena Pilgram-Pastor6,
  10. Marta Wallocha6,
  11. René Chapot6,
  12. Jens Fiehler1,
  13. Christian Paul Stracke1,6,
  14. Hannes Leischner1
  1. 1 Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
  2. 2 Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology, Hospital Bremen-Mitte, Bremen, Germany
  3. 3 Department of Radiology, Areteion University Hospital, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
  4. 4 Department of Neurology, Klinikum Bremen-Mitte, Bremen, Germany
  5. 5 Department of Neurology, Städtisches Klinikum Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany
  6. 6 Department of Intracranial Endovascular Therapy, Alfried‐Krupp Krankenhaus, Essen, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lukas Meyer, Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology, Universitatsklinikum Hamburg Eppendorf Klinik und Poliklinik fur Neuroradiologische Diagnostik und Intervention, Hamburg 20246, Germany; lu.meyer{at}


Background Substantial clinical evidence supporting the benefit of mechanical thrombectomy (MT) for distal occlusions within the posterior circulation is still missing. This study aims to investigate the procedural feasibility and safety of MT for isolated occlusions of the posterior cerebral artery.

Methods We retrospectively reviewed patients from three stroke centers with acute ischemic stroke attributed to isolated posterior cerebral artery occlusion (IPCAOs) who underwent MT between January 2014 and December 2019. Procedural and safety assessment included successful recanalization rates (defined as Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction Scale (TICI) ≥2b), number of MT attempts and first-pass effect (TICI 3), intracranial hemorrhage (ICH), mortality, and intervention-related serious adverse events. Treatment effects were evaluated by the rate of early neurological improvement (ENI) and early functional outcome was assessed with the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) at discharge. A systematic literature review was conducted to identify and summarize previous reports on MT for IPCAOs.

Results Forty-three patients with IPCAOs located in the P1 (55.8%, 24/43), P2 (37.2%, 16/43), and P3 segment (7%, 3/43) were analyzed. The overall rate of successful recanalization (TICI ≥2b) was 86% (37/43), including a first pass-effect of 48.8% (21/43) leading to TICI 3. sICH occurred in 7% (3/43) and there were two cases with iatrogenic vessel dissection and one perforation. ENI was observed in 59% (23/39) and excellent functional outcome (mRS ≤1) in 46.2% (18/39) of patients who were discharged. The in-hospital mortality rate was 9.3% (4/43).

Conclusion Our study suggests the technical feasibility and safety of thrombectomy for IPCAOs. Further studies are needed to investigate safety and long-term functional outcomes with posterior circulation stroke-adjusted outcome assessment.

  • stroke
  • thrombectomy
  • thrombolysis

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • CPS and HL contributed equally.

  • Contributors LM, HL, and CPS made substantial contributions to the conception and design of the work. Data acquisition was performed by CPS, LM, and HL. HL and LM performed the data analysis. Interpretation of the data was done by JF, PP, AK, MP, GB, HK, LM, CK, SMPP, MW and RC. LM drafted the manuscript and all of the other authors revised it critically for important intellectual content. All authors approved the final version to be published. They agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the manuscript are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests JF: Consultant for Acandis, Boehringer Ingelheim, Codman, Microvention, Sequent, Stryker. Speaker for Bayer Healthcare, Bracco, Covidien/ev3, Penumbra, Philips, Siemens. Grants from Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi), Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), European Union (EU), Covidien, Stryker (THRILL study), Microvention (ERASER study), Philips. PP: Consultant for Penumbra. RC: Consultant and/or proctor for BALT, Stryker, Microvention, Rapid Medical, Siemens Medical Systems. CPS: Consultant and/or proctor for Acandis, Balt, and Rapid Medical.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Anonymized data were recorded in accordance with ethical review board approval and no informed consent was necessary after review (Ethics Committee of the Chamber of Physicians, Hamburg, Germany)

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data supporting the findings are available upon reasonable request from any qualified investigator for the purposes of replicating procedures and results, after clearance by the ethics committee.