Manual Aspiration Thrombectomy in Patients with Acute Stroke-Related Calcified Cerebral Emboli

Esther Koh, Hyo Sung Kwak, Gyung-Ho Chung
Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases: the Official Journal of National Stroke Association 2017, 26 (10): 2050-2054

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of mechanical aspiration thrombectomy (MAT) in patients with acute ischemic stroke from calcified cerebral emboli.

METHODS: Procedural results were reviewed for acute stroke patients with clinically neurological deficits who underwent recanalization from October 2012 through September 2015. Initial imaging studies and cerebral angiography were analyzed.

RESULTS: Of the total number of patients with acute stroke, 5 patients were confirmed to have acute ischemic stroke by calcified cerebral emboli. On initial brain computed tomographic imaging, all patients showed small, dense single calcifications in the middle cerebral artery with no definitive ischemic low-density lesions (M1: 3, M2: 2, mean size: 4.8 mm). All patients had angiographic findings of filling defects from calcified emboli. Four patients had good collateral flow and two had continuous distal flow. All patients underwent MAT using a Penumbra catheter (Penumbra Inc., Alameda, CA). MAT did not remove calcified emboli in all patients. Two patients with good collateral flow had favorable functional outcomes (modified Rankin Scale score ≤2). Four patients had diffuse calcification in the aortic arch, carotid artery, and aortic valve.

CONCLUSIONS: Cerebral angiography supports a diagnosis of stroke when calcified cerebral emboli have contrast-filling defects and a degree of vascular occlusion. However, in this study, MAT was not an effective treatment for patients with calcified cerebral emboli because of hardness of the calcified plaque and packing into the arterial lumen.

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