Arterial Collapse during Thrombectomy for Stroke: Clinical Evidence and Experimental Findings in Human Brains and In Vivo Models

Y. Liu, D. Gebrezgiabhier, Y. Zheng, A. J. Shih, N. Chaudhary, A. S. Pandey, J. L.A. Larco, S. I. Madhani, M. Abbasi, A. H. Shahid, R. A. Quinton, R. Kadirvel, W. Brinjikji, D. F. Kallmes, L. E. Savastano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Aspiration thrombectomy has become a preferred approach to recanalize large-vessel occlusion in stroke with a growing trend toward using larger-bore catheters and stronger vacuum pumps. However, the mechanical response of the delicate cerebral arteries to aspiration force has not been evaluated. Here, we provide preclinical and clinical evidence of intracranial arterial collapse in aspiration thrombectomy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We presented a clinical case of arterial collapse with previously implanted flow diverters. We then evaluated the effect of vacuum with conventional aspiration catheters (with and without stent retrievers) in a rabbit model (n = 3) using fluoroscopy and intravascular optical coherence tomography. Then, in a validated human cadaveric brain model, we conducted 168 tests of direct aspiration thrombectomy following an experimental design modifying the catheter inner diameter (0.064 inch, 0.068 inch, and 0.070 inch), cerebral perfusion pressures (mean around 60 and 90 mm Hg), and anterior-versus-posterior circulation. Arterial wall response was recorded and graded via direct transluminal observation. RESULTS: Arterial collapse was observed in both the patient and preclinical experimental models. In the human brain model, arterial collapse was observed in 98% of cases in the M2 and in all the cases with complete proximal flow arrest. A larger bore size of the aspiration catheter, a lower cerebral perfusion pressure, and the posterior circulation in comparison with the anterior circulation were associated with a higher probability of arterial collapse. CONCLUSIONS: Arterial collapse does occur during aspiration thrombectomy and is more likely to happen with larger catheters, lower perfusion pressure, and smaller arteries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-257
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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