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Original research
Impact of thrombus surface on first pass reperfusion in contact aspiration and stent retriever thrombectomy
  1. Daniel Kaiser1,
  2. Katharina Laske2,
  3. Robert Winzer3,
  4. Kevin Hädrich1,
  5. Hannes Wahl1,
  6. Pawel Krukowski1,
  7. Dirk Daubner1,
  8. Lars-Peder Pallesen2,
  9. Jennifer Linn1,
  10. Volker Puetz2,
  11. Johannes C Gerber1
  1. 1 Neuroradiology, Universitaetsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus, Dresden, Sachsen, Germany
  2. 2 Neurology, Universitaetsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus, Dresden, Sachsen, Germany
  3. 3 Radiology, Universitaetsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus, Dresden, Sachsen, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Daniel Kaiser, Neuroradiology, Universitaetsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus, Dresden 01307, Germany; daniel.kaiser{at}


Background To assess whether thrombus surface morphology has an impact on first pass reperfusion in contact aspiration (CA) and stent retriever (SR) thrombectomy.

Methods From January 2016 to December 2018, consecutive stroke patients with an occlusion of the middle cerebral artery and thrombectomy (CA or SR) were examined in this retrospective study. We assessed patients’ characteristics, procedural data and clinical outcome. Thrombus surface on pretreatment digital subtraction angiography (DSA) was categorized into regular versus irregular phenotype by blinded three-reader-consensus. Primary outcome was successful reperfusion (modified treatment in cerebral ischemia (mTICI) 2b-3) after first pass. Data analysis was stratified according to thrombectomy technique and thrombus phenotype.

Results Among 203 patients (76 years (IQR 65.5–81.9), 47.3% male, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale Score 16 (IQR 12–20)), 155 patients were treated primarily with CA and 48 with SR. 40% (n=62/155) CA and 41.7% (n=20/48) SR-treated patients had a regular thrombus phenotype. In the CA group, successful reperfusion after first pass was more frequently obtained in patients with regular compared with irregular phenotype (69.4% (n=43/62) vs 34.4% (n=32/93); P<0.0001). In contrast, in the SR group, reperfusion after first pass was achieved in 35% (n=7/20; P=0.01) of patients with regular phenotypes. In the CA group, median number of passes (1 (1–2) vs 2 (1–4); P<0.00001) and time from reaching the thrombus to reperfusion (19±27 vs 38±36 min; P=0.0001) were lower among patients with a regular phenotype.

Conclusion Direct CA is associated with higher rates of successful first pass reperfusion in patients with a regular thrombus phenotype in pretreatment DSA.

  • stroke
  • thrombectomy
  • technique
  • angiography

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  • Contributors All authors participated with substantial contributions to the conception and design of the work, the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data for this work. All authors participated in drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content. They gave final approval of the version to be published and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work 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 JCG received speaking fees from Penumbra Inc.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval This study had institutional ethics committee approval (Ethikkommission TU Dresden; EK272072017) with waiver of informed consent.

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

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. Deidentified participant data and statistical analysis are available upon reasonable request from the corresponding author.