Background The use of a combination of balloon guide catheter (BGC), aspiration catheter, and stent retriever in acute ischemic stroke thrombectomy has not been shown to be better than a stent retriever and BGC alone, but this may be due to a lack of power in these studies. We therefore performed a meta-analysis on this subject.
Methods A systematic literature search was performed on PubMed, Scopus, Embase/Ovid, and the Cochrane Library from inception to October 20, 2021. Our primary outcomes were the rate of successful final reperfusion (Treatment in Cerebral Ischemia (TICI) 2c–3) and first pass effect (FPE, defined as TICI 2c–3 in a single pass). Secondary outcomes were 3 month functional independence (modified Rankin Scale score of 0–2), mortality, procedural complications, embolic complications, and symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (SICH). A meta-analysis was performed using RevMan 5,4, and heterogeneity was assessed using the I2 test.
Results Of 1629 studies identified, five articles with 2091 patients were included. For the primary outcomes, FPE (44.9% vs 45.4%, OR 1.04 (95% CI 0.90 to 1.22), I2=57%) or final successful reperfusion (64.5% vs 68.6%, OR 0.98 (95% CI 0.81% to 1.20%), I2=85%) was similar between the combination technique and stent retriever only groups. However, the combination technique had significantly less rescue treatment (18.8% vs 26.9%; OR 0.70 (95% CI 0.54 to 0.91), I2=0%). This did not translate into significant differences in secondary outcomes in functional outcomes, mortality, emboli, complications, or SICH.
Conclusion There was no significant difference in successful reperfusion and FPE between the combined techniques and the stent retriever and BGC alone groups. Neither was there any difference in functional outcomes, complications, or mortality.
Data availability statement
All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Not applicable.
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YNT, C-HS and BYQT are joint first authors.
YNT, C-HS and BYQT contributed equally.
Contributors YNT, C-HS, and BYQT: search terms and literature review, draft manuscript, statistical analysis, and editing. BC, VKS, H-LT, TA, FA, VKG, TH-L, VM, LM, PB, and OS: direction of research and editing. JM, AM, AG, CY, SL, SN, SJO, and RR: literature review and editing. TYWL and RYHS: statistical analysis and editing. LLLY: direction of research, search terms and literature review, draft manuscript, statistical analysis, and editing. LLLY is the author responsible for the overall content as the guarantor.
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 LM received compensation as a speaker for Balt.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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