Rapid revascularization of tandem extracranial and intracranial acute thromboembolic occlusions can be challenging and can delay restoration of blood flow to the cerebral circulation. Taking advantage of collateral pathways in the circle of Willis for thrombectomy can reduce the occlusion-to-revascularization time significantly, thereby protecting brain tissue from ischemic injury. The authors report using the trans–anterior communicating artery (ACoA) approach by using the Penumbra microcatheter to rapidly restore blood flow to the middle cerebral artery (MCA) territory prior to treating the ipsilateral internal carotid artery (ICA) occlusion. Two patients with acute onset of tandem ipsilateral ICA and MCA occlusions and a competent ACoA underwent rapid revascularization of the MCA using a trans-ACoA approach for pharmaceutical and mechanical thrombolysis with the 0.026-in Penumbra microcatheter. Subsequently, once blood flow was reestablished in the MCA territory via cross-filling from the contralateral ICA, the proximally occluded ICA dissection was revascularized with a stent. Both patients had rapid revascularization of the MCA territory (both Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction Grade 3) with the trans-ACoA approach (19 and 36 minutes) followed by treatment of the ipsilateral proximal ICA occlusion. This prevented prolonged MCA ischemia time (72 and 47 minutes for ICA revascularization time saved) that would have otherwise occurred if the dissections were treated prior to revascularization of the MCA. Both patients had improved NIH Stroke Scale scores after the procedure. No adverse events from crossing the ACoA with the Penumbra microcatheter were encountered during the revascularization procedure. The trans-ACoA approach with the Penumbra microcatheter for rapid revascularization of an acutely thrombosed MCA in the setting of a simultaneous ipsilateral proximal ICA occlusion is feasible in patients with a competent ACoA. This technique can significantly minimize ischemic injury by reducing the occlusion-to-revascularization time and allow for MCA perfusion via collateral circulation while treating a proximal occlusion. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first reported trans-ACoA approach with the Penumbra microcatheter and the first to report the utilization of the collateral intracranial circulation to reduce occlusion-to-revascularization time.
Abbreviations used in this paper: ACoA = anterior communicating artery; ASPECTS = Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score; CCA = common carotid artery; ICA = internal carotid artery; MCA = middle cerebral artery; NIHSS = NIH Stroke Scale; TIMI = Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction.
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