School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Thrombectomy for Distal, Medium Vessel Occlusions

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Endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) is well established as a highly effective treatment for acute ischemic stroke (AIS) due to proximal, large vessel occlusions (PLVOs). With iterative further advances in catheter technology, distal, medium vessel occlusions (DMVOs) are now emerging as a promising next potential EVT frontier. This consensus statement integrates recent epidemiological, anatomic, clinical, imaging, and therapeutic research on DMVO-AIS and provides a framework for further studies. DMVOs cause 25% to 40% of AISs, arising as primary thromboemboli and as unintended consequences of EVT performed for PLVOs, including emboli to new territories (ENTs) and emboli to distal territories (EDTs) within the initially compromised arterial field. The 6 distal medium arterial arbors (anterior cerebral artery [ACA], M2–M4 middle cerebral artery [MCA], posterior cerebral artery [PCA], posterior inferior cerebellar artery [PICA], anterior inferior cerebellar artery [AICA], and superior cerebellar artery [SCA]) typically have 25 anatomic segments and give rise to 34 distinct arterial branches nourishing highly differentiated, largely superficial cerebral neuroanatomical regions. DMVOs produce clinical syndromes that are highly heterogenous but frequently disabling. While intravenous fibrinolytics are more effective for distal than proximal occlusions, they fail to recanalize one-half to two-thirds of DMVOs. Early clinical series using recently available, smaller, more navigable stent retriever and thromboaspiration devices suggest EVT for DMVOs is safe, technically efficacious, and potentially clinically beneficial. Collaborative investigations are desirable to enhance imaging recognition of DMVOs; advance device design and technical efficacy; conduct large registry studies using harmonized, common data elements; and complete formal randomized trials, improving treatment of this frequent mechanism of stroke.


© 2020 American Heart Association, Inc.

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