Background Acute stroke from tandem extracranial carotid artery and intracranial large vessel occlusion poses challenges for emergency endovascular treatment. Establishing and maintaining patency of the carotid artery and avoiding intracranial hemorrhage are competing concerns.
Methods Twenty-three consecutive cases of emergency carotid stenting followed by mechanical thrombectomy identified by retrospective review of the endovascular ischemic stroke database maintained prospectively at our institution since January 2011 form the basis for this report. No cases were lost to follow-up.
Results Patients were selected with CT angiography or MR angiography and diffusion weighted imaging. Carotid stenting was successful in all cases, and establishment of Thrombolysis in Cerebral Ischemia 2A, 2B or 3 flow was successful in 21/23 (91%). 12/23 (52%) patients achieved a modified Rankin Scale score of 0–2 at 90 days. Symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (SICH) occurred in 5/23 patients (22%). Of 13 patients receiving an intravenous loading dose of abciximab during the procedure, 4/13 had SICH (31%) compared with 1/10 (10%) of those who did not. Of seven patients who received intravenous tissue plasminogen activator prior to the procedure, none had SICH. 90-day mortality was 9/23 (39%). All patients who had SICH were above the median age.
Conclusions Primary stenting of the extracranial carotid artery combined with intracranial mechanical thrombectomy can be an effective treatment for tandem occlusions, can be performed with a high rate of technical success, and can achieve good clinical outcomes in selected patients. However, the incidence of SICH may be higher than in other patient populations and may be associated with the use of abciximab and advanced patient age.
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