Background Both stent retriever (SR) and contact aspiration (CA) are widely used as first-line strategies for acute posterior circulation strokes (PCS). However, it is still unclear how CA and SR compare as the first-line treatment of acute PCS. Several new studies have been published recently, so we aimed to perform an updated meta-analysis.
Methods The meta-analysis was conducted according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis) statement. Random-effects models were performed to pool the outcomes and the value of I2 was calculated to assess the heterogeneity.
Results Ten observational studies with 1189 patients were included, among whom 492 received first-line CA and 697 received first-line SR. The pooled results revealed that first-line CA could achieve a significantly higher proportion of modified Thrombolysis In Cerebral Infarction (mTICI) 2b/3 (OR 1.90, 95% CI 1.33 to 2.71, I2=0%), mTICI 3 (OR 1.95, 95% CI 1.15 to 3.31, I2=59.6%), first-pass effect (OR 2.91, 95% CI 1.51 to 5.58, I2=0%), lower incidence of new-territory embolic events (OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.83, I2=0%), and shorter procedure time (mean difference −29.4 min, 95% CI −46.8 to −12.0 min, I2=62.8%) compared with first-line SR. At 90-day follow-up, patients subjected to first-line CA showed a higher functional independence (modified Rankin Scale score 0–2; OR 1.38, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.87, I2=23.5%) and a lower mortality (OR 0.71, 95% CI 0.50 to 1.00, p=0.050, I2=0%) than those subjected to first-line SR.
Conclusions This meta-analysis suggests that the first-line CA strategy could achieve better recanalization and clinical outcomes for acute PCS than first-line SR. Limited by the quality of included studies, this conclusion should be drawn with caution.
Data availability statement
All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. All data are available in the manuscript.
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