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Christopher R. Pasarikovski, Jerry C. Ku, Julia Keith, Joel Ramjist, Yuta Dobashi, Stefano M. Priola, Leodante da Costa, Ashish Kumar, and Victor X. D. Yang

OBJECTIVE

Although the majority of patients with cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) will improve with anticoagulation therapy, a portion of patients will either present in a comatose state or continue to deteriorate clinically despite early anticoagulation. In these cases, along with treating the underlying thrombophilia, timely thrombolysis may be beneficial. Repurposed arterial thrombectomy devices may not perform as expected in the cerebral venous sinus, and there are currently no preclinical endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) models for CVST. Contrary to arterial stroke research, preclinical models utilized to test various endovascular techniques and devices are lacking. The purpose of this research was to develop a reliable preclinical animal model for the testing of endovascular strategies to treat CVST.

METHODS

Five consecutive male Yorkshire swine weighing 45 kg were utilized. Thrombosis of the superior sagittal sinus was induced with a bovine thrombin injection via a microcatheter under distal balloon occlusion for 15 minutes. Combined arterial injections and superselective sinus injections confirmed the extent of thrombosis. EVT was subsequently performed using a second-generation stent retriever, followed by intravascular optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging to assess the luminal environment after thrombectomy.

RESULTS

Thrombosis of the superior sagittal sinus, EVT, and subsequent OCT imaging were technically successful in 4 of the 5 swine. Recanalization of the sinus with a second-generation stent retriever was successful after one attempt in 3 of 4 swine (75%), and 1 swine required two attempts. OCT imaging after thrombectomy revealed regions of residual sinus luminal thrombus despite complete angiographic recanalization. Thrombosed bridging cortical veins were also observed before draining into the sinus, along with patent cortical veins.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors describe a preclinical model to assess endovascular techniques and devices for the treatment of CVST. Repurposed devices from arterial stroke may not perform as expected, given the unique features of venous sinus thrombosis. Residual bridging cortical vein thrombus and residual sinus thrombus, visualized on intravascular OCT, may be present despite complete sinus recanalization on angiography, and this may be the etiology of the poor clinical outcome despite technical success. In the setting of bridging cortical vein thrombus after successful sinus thrombectomy, direct chemical thrombolysis may be warranted to dissolve the remaining clot. This model may be helpful in developing and testing a new generation of devices designed specifically for CVST treatment.

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Christopher R. Pasarikovski, Julia Keith, Leodante da Costa, Joel Ramjist, Yuta Dobashi, Sandra E. Black, and Victor X. D. Yang

OBJECTIVE

Although studies have shown that some degree of iatrogenic endothelial injury occurs during endovascular thrombectomy (EVT), the clinical significance of such injury is uncertain. Furthermore, it is likely that iatrogenic effects such as endothelial denudation, intimal dissection, and tunica media edema will have varying clinical implications. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of endovascular optical coherence tomography (OCT) in quantifying vessel injury in real time after EVT, correlate vessel injury with histological findings, and perform imaging at varying time intervals after EVT to assess the impact of prolonged direct exposure of the vessel to the thrombus.

METHODS

Yorkshire swine weighing 35–40 kg were selected for use as the animal model, with a total of 9 vessels from 3 swine examined. Thrombectomy was performed using a second-generation stent retriever 1, 3, and 6 hours after thrombus deposition. The presence and degree of denudation of the endothelium, detachment and separation of the layers of the tunic media, hemorrhage within the media, dissection of the vessels, and thrombus within the lumina were assessed using OCT images acquired immediately after EVT. Bland-Altman analysis indicated that these OCT findings were correlated with postmortem histological findings.

RESULTS

OCT image acquisition was technically successful in all cases. Endothelial denudation was present in 65% ± 16%, 87% ± 8%, and 93% ± 7% of the vessel surface 1, 3, and 6 hours, respectively, after thrombus deposition and subsequent EVT. Residual intraluminal thrombus was present in vessels at all time intervals despite complete angiographic revascularization. Bland-Altman plots showed good agreement between OCT and histological analysis with respect to the degree of endothelial denudation and elevation, separation of the tunica media, and hemorrhage within the media. OCT appears to be more specific than histological analysis in detecting endothelial elevation.

CONCLUSIONS

OCT is a feasible method that can be used to assess vascular injury after EVT with histological accuracy. Varying degrees of vessel injury occur after EVT, and residual luminal thrombus can be present despite complete angiographic revascularization.