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Original research
Combined proximal balloon occlusion and distal aspiration: a new approach to prevent distal embolization during neurothrombectomy


Background and purpose Embolization of thrombus fragments in a new vascular territory is a potential adverse event in neurothrombectomy. This study was performed to evaluate the safety and feasibility of a novel approach combining proximal balloon occlusion and distal aspiration to prevent distal thrombembolic complications.

Methods Patients with ischemic stroke meeting the following inclusion criteria were eligible: occlusion in the anterior circulation, neurothrombectomy using a balloon catheter for proximal flow arrest, and an intermediate catheter for distal aspiration. Pre- and post-interventional Thrombolysis In Cerebral Infarction (TICI) scores were assessed. Clinical presentation at admission and discharge and after 3 months was also evaluated and complications (particularly new thrombembolic events) were recorded.

Results We retrospectively identified 31 patients from our prospectively collected stroke database who met the inclusion criteria. In all patients the initial TICI was 0. A TICI score of ≥2b was achieved in 96.8%. No new thrombembolic complications occurred. The median NIH Stroke Scale score was 19 at admission and 4.5 at discharge. After 3 months, 51.6% of the patients had a favorable clinical outcome (modified Rankin Scale score 0–2) and 19.3% had died.

Conclusions A combination of proximal internal carotid artery occlusion using a balloon catheter and distal aspiration through an intermediate catheter represents a safe and efficient adjunct to mechanical thrombectomy with stent retrievers. In our patient cohort, no new thrombembolic complications were detected.

  • Stroke
  • Thrombectomy
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