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Original research
Identifying clot composition using intravascular diffuse reflectance spectroscopy in a porcine model of endovascular thrombectomy
  1. Simon Skyrman1,2,
  2. Gustav Burström1,2,
  3. Oskar Aspegren3,4,
  4. Gerald Lucassen5,
  5. Adrian Elmi-Terander1,2,
  6. Erik Edström1,2,
  7. Fabian Arnberg1,6,
  8. Marcus Ohlsson1,6,
  9. Manfred Mueller5,
  10. Tommy Andersson1,6,7
  1. 1Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  2. 2Department of Neurosurgery, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
  3. 3Department of Pathology, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
  4. 4Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  5. 5High Tech Campus 34, Philips Research, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
  6. 6Department of Neuroradiology, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
  7. 7Departments of Radiology and Neurology, AZ Groeninge, Kortrijk, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Simon Skyrman, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Solna 171 77, Sweden; simon.skyrman{at}


Background Endovascular thrombectomy has revolutionized the management of acute ischemic stroke and proven superior to stand-alone intravenous thrombolysis for large vessel occlusions. However, failed or delayed revascularization may occur as a result of a mismatch between removal technique and clot composition. Determination of clot composition before thrombectomy provides the possibility to adapt the technique to improve clot removal efficacy. We evaluated the application of diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) for intravascular determination of clot composition in vivo.

Methods Three clot types, enriched in red blood cells or fibrin or with a mixed content, were prepared from porcine blood and injected into the external carotids of a domestic pig. A guidewire-like DRS probe was used to investigate the optical spectra of clots, blood and vessel wall. Measurement positions were confirmed with angiography. Spectra were analyzed by fitting an optical model to derive physiological parameters. To evaluate the method’s accuracy, photon scattering and blood and methemoglobin contents were included in a decision tree model and a random forest classification.

Results DRS could differentiate between the three different clot types, blood and vessel wall in vivo (p<0.0001). The sensitivity and specificity for detection was 73.8% and 98.8% for red blood cell clots, 80.6% and 97.8% for fibrin clots, and 100% and 100% for mixed clots, respectively.

Conclusion Intravascular DRS applied via a custom guidewire can be used for reliable determination of clot composition in vivo. This novel approach has the potential to increase efficacy of thrombectomy procedures in ischemic stroke.

  • thrombectomy
  • stroke
  • intervention
  • technique

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Further data can be obtained by email request to the corresponding author.

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Further data can be obtained by email request to the corresponding author.

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  • Contributors Study conception and design: All authors. Preparation of blood clots: MM, GL. Conduction of animal experiments: SS, FA, TA, MM, MO, GL. Histopathological exam of clot; OADRS data analysis/parameter fitting: MM, GL. Analysis and interpretation of data: All authors. Draft of manuscript: SS. Critically revising the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors. Final approval of the version to be published: All authors. All authors agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • 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 TA holds equity for Ceroflo and is a consultant for Amnis Therapeutics, Anaconda, Cerenovus-Neuravi, Medtronic, Rapid Medical and Stryker. None of the authors who are affiliated with clinical institutions or universities (SS, GB, EE, OA, AE-T, FA, TA) have financial interests in the subject matter, materials, or equipment or with any competing materials and did not receive any payments from Philips. Karolinska University hospital and Philips Healthcare have a major collaboration agreement. The authors affiliated with Philips Research and Philips Healthcare (MM, GL) have financial interests in the subject matter, materials, and equipment, in the sense that they are employees of Philips. Philips provided support in the form of salaries but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section. Authors without conflicts of interest had full control of all data labeling, data analysis and information submitted for publication and over all conclusions drawn in the manuscript.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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