Purpose Stent retriever-based mechanical thrombectomy (MT) for emergent large vessel occlusions (ELVO) is often complicated by thrombus fragmentation causing distal embolization and embolization to new vascular territories. Well-established embolic protection approaches include proximal flow arrest and distal aspiration techniques during stent retriever maneuvers. Aiming at the reduction of thrombus fragmentation during MT we evaluated a technical approach combining proximal balloon occlusion together with direct thrombus aspiration during MT: the PROTECT technique.
Methods We performed a case-control study comparing the PROTECT technique with sole distal aspiration during MT regarding technical and procedural parameters, n=200 patients with ELVO of either the terminus of the internal carotid artery or the proximal middle artery were included.
Results PROTECT resulted in a shorter procedure time (29 vs 40 min; P=0.002), in a higher rate of successful recanalizations (100% vs 78%; P=0.001) and a higher rate of complete reperfusions (70% vs 39%; P<0.001) compared with sole distal aspiration during MT.
Conclusion The PROTECT technique is a promising new approach to significantly reduce thrombus fragmentation and, hence distal embolization during MT. This safe and efficient technique needs to be validated in larger trials to confirm our results.
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Contributors All authors have provided a substantial contribution to the conception and design of the studies and/or the acquisition and/or the analysis of the data and/or the interpretation of the data; drafted the work or revised it for significant intellectual content; approved the final version of the manuscript; and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work, including its accuracy and integrity.
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval local ethics committee.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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