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Mechanical thrombectomy, or simply thrombectomy, is the interventional procedure of removing a blood clot (thrombus) from a blood vessel. It is commonly performed in the coronary arteries (interventional cardiology), peripheral arteries (interventional radiology) and cerebral arteries (interventional neuroradiology).

Applications in brain

Ischemic stroke represents the second most common cause of death in western world. Until recent times, systemic intravenous fibrinolysis was the only evidence-based therapy for patient with acute onset of stroke due to large vessel occlusion.

In 2015, the results of five trials from different countries were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrating the safety and efficacy of mechanical thrombectomy with stent-retriever in improving outcomes and reducing mortality. It is now a widespread procedure performed in most primary stroke centers across the globe.

Stent-retriever thrombectomy

The procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia in an angiographic room. A system of coaxial catheters is pushed inside the arterial circulation, usually through a percutaneous access to the femoral artery. A microcatheter is finally positioned beyond the occluded segment and a stent-retriever is deployed to catch the thrombus; finally, the stent is pulled out from the artery, usually under continuous aspiration in the larger catheters.

Direct aspiration

A different technique for mechanical thrombectomy in brain is direct aspiration. It is performed by pushing a large soft aspiration catheter into the occluded vessel and applying direct aspiration to retrieve the thrombus; it can be combined with the stent-retriever technique to achieve higher recanalization rates, but the complexity of the procedure increases.

Direct aspiration has not been studied as thoroughly as stent-retriever thrombectomy, but it is still widely performed because of its relative simplicity and low cost.

See also

External links

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