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Original research
Penumbra salvage in extensive stroke: exploring limits for reperfusion therapy


Background The effect of thrombectomy in patients presenting with extensive ischemic stroke at baseline is currently being investigated; it remains uncertain to what extent brain tissue may be saved by reperfusion in such patients. Penumbra salvage volume (PSV) has been described as a tool to measure the volume of rescued penumbra.

Objective To assess whether the effect of recanalization on PSV is dependent on the extent of early ischemic changes.

Methods Observational study of patients with anterior circulation ischemic stroke triaged by multimodal-CT undergoing thrombectomy. PSV was defined as the difference between baseline penumbra volume and net infarct growth to follow-up. The effect of vessel recanalization on PSV depending on the extent of early ischemic changes (defined using Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score (ASPECTS) and core volumes based on relative cerebral blood flow) was determined using multivariable linear regression analysis, and the association with functional outcome at day 90 was tested using multivariable logistic regression.

Results 384 patients were included, of whom 292 (76%) achieved successful recanalization (modified Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction ≥2b). Successful recanalization was independently associated with 59 mL PSV (95% CI 29.8 to 88.8 mL) and was linked to increased penumbra salvage up to an ASPECTS of 3 and core volume up to 110 mL. Recanalization was associated with a higher probability of a modified Rankin Scale score of ≤2 up to a core volume of 100 mL.

Conclusions Recanalization was associated with significant penumbra salvage up to a lower ASPECTS margin of 3 and upper core volume margin of 110 mL. The clinical benefit of recanalization for patients with very large ischemic regions of >100 mL or ASPECTS <3 remains uncertain and requires prospective investigation.

  • Stroke
  • Thrombectomy
  • CT perfusion

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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