The use of stent retrievers in acute ischemic stroke

Rick Gill, Michael J Schneck
Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics 2016, 16 (8): 969-81

INTRODUCTION: Acute ischemic stroke (AIS) is one of the leading causes of mortality and adult disability worldwide. For two decades, the preferred approach for AIS was intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (IV tPA). However, IV tPA cannot be given to many AIS patients who do not meet strict criteria for its use. IV tPA has also had lesser benefit in patients with large clot burden in the context of large vessel occlusion (LVO).

AREAS COVERED: Endovascular stroke therapy had been an 'unproven' therapy despite numerous trials of intra-arterial pharmacologic thrombolysis and mechanical thrombectomy. With the advent of stent-retriever devices, there has been a paradigm shift in the utilization of endovascular therapies for AIS. Our review discusses cerebrovascular hemodynamics, the basis of the recanalization models in AIS, aspects of intravenous thrombolysis, prior generations of endovascular therapy, and the recent successful AIS stent retriever trials. Expert commentary: Recently 'stent-retrievers', a new generation of mechanical thrombectomy devices, were shown to be associated with improved functional outcomes in AIS secondary to proximal intracranial anterior circulation LVO. Stent retrievers are a major advance in AIS care and will have significant impact on the evolution of stroke systems of care.

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