Clinical Trial
Journal Article
Multicenter Study
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Safety and efficacy of mechanical embolectomy in acute ischemic stroke: results of the MERCI trial.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The only Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved treatment for acute ischemic stroke is tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) given intravenously within 3 hours of symptom onset. An alternative strategy for opening intracranial vessels during stroke is mechanical embolectomy, especially for patients ineligible for intravenous tPA.

METHODS: We investigated the safety and efficacy of a novel embolectomy device (Merci Retriever) to open occluded intracranial large vessels within 8 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms in a prospective, nonrandomized, multicenter trial. All patients were ineligible for intravenous tPA. Primary outcomes were recanalization and safety, and secondary outcomes were neurological outcome at 90 days in recanalized versus nonrecanalized patients.

RESULTS: Recanalization was achieved in 46% (69/151) of patients on intention to treat analysis, and in 48% (68/141) of patients in whom the device was deployed. This rate is significantly higher than that expected using an historical control of 18% (P<0.0001). Clinically significant procedural complications occurred in 10 of 141 (7.1%) patients. Symptomatic intracranial hemorrhages was observed in 11 of 141 (7.8%) patients. Good neurological outcomes (modified Rankin score < or =2) were more frequent at 90 days in patients with successful recanalization compared with patients with unsuccessful recanalization (46% versus 10%; relative risk [RR], 4.4; 95% CI, 2.1 to 9.3; P<0.0001), and mortality was less (32% versus 54%; RR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.39 to 0.89; P=0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: A novel endovascular embolectomy device can significantly restore vascular patency during acute ischemic stroke within 8 hours of stroke symptom onset and provides an alternative intervention for patients who are otherwise ineligible for thrombolytics.

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