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Eur J Neurol. 2019 Feb;26(2):299-305. doi: 10.1111/ene.13809. Epub 2018 Oct 15.

Thrombectomy in posterior circulation stroke: differences in procedures and outcome compared to anterior circulation stroke in the prospective multicentre REVASK registry.

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Departments of Neurology, Alfried Krupp Krankenhaus Essen and Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum, Germany.
University Hospital Münster, Münster, Germany.
Department of Radiology and Neuroradiology, Alfried Krupp Krankenhaus Essen, Essen, Germany.
University Hospital Knappschaftskrankenhaus Bochum and Klinikum Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany.
University Hospital St Josef-Hospital Bochum, Bochum, Germany.
Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.



In contrast to anterior circulation stroke (ACS), there is no evidence from randomized trials that mechanical thrombectomy (MT) with modern stent retrievers or thromboaspiration is safe and effective in posterior circulation stroke (PCS).


The present analysis was based on the prospective multicentre Registry on Revascularization in Ischemic Stroke Patients (REVASK) in Germany. Demographic data, periprocedural times and complications, recanalization rates, and functional outcome at discharge and after 3 months were compared between 139 consecutive patients with PCS (84.9% basilar artery, 16.5% vertebral artery and 4.3% posterior cerebral artery occlusion) and 961 patients with ACS treated with MT.


Compared to ACS, PCS patients were significantly younger (65 vs. 69 years, P = 0.021) and had a lower median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score at baseline (12 vs. 15, P = 0.024). Patients with PCS had a significantly longer time delay between symptom onset and both start and end of the MT procedure. Successful recanalization and thrombectomy passes did not significantly differ between the two groups. No symptomatic intracranial haemorrhage occurred in PCS compared to 3% in ACS (P = 0.010). The median NIHSS score at discharge was 3 in PCS and 4 in ACS. Favourable functional outcome at 3 months (modified Rankin Scale 0-2 38.0% vs. 42.6%, P = 0.392) and mortality (33.7% vs. 30.8%, P = 0.539) did not differ significantly between PCS and ACS.


The study suggests that MT in PCS shows a lower risk of symptomatic intracranial haemorrhage and similar effectiveness compared to ACS. PCS patients also seem to benefit from MT started beyond 6 h after symptom onset.


ischaemic stroke; posterior brain circulation; stent retriever; thrombectomy; thromboaspiration


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