Association of Infarct Topography and Outcome After Endovascular Thrombectomy in Patients With Acute Ischemic Stroke

Background and Objectives

The care of patients with large vessel occlusion (LVO) stroke has been revolutionized by endovascular thrombectomy (EVT). While EVT has a large effect size, most patients treated with EVT remain disabled or die within 90 days. A better understanding of outcomes may influence EVT selection criteria, novel therapies, and prognostication. We sought to identify associations between outcomes and brain regions involved in ischemic lesions.

Methods

For this cohort study, consecutive patients with LVO who were treated with EVT and underwent post-EVT MRI were identified from a tertiary referral center (2011–2019). Acute ischemic lesions were manually segmented from diffusion-weighted imaging and spatially normalized. Individual lesions were parcellated (atlas-defined 94 cortical regions, 14 subcortical nuclei, 20 white matter tracts) and reduced to 10 essential lesion patterns with the use of unsupervised dimensionality reduction techniques. Ninety-day modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score (>2) was modeled via bayesian regression, taking the 10 lesion patterns as inputs and controlling for lesion size, age, sex, acute NIH Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score, alteplase, prior stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, and good reperfusion (Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction 2b–3). In comparative analyses, 90-day mRS score was modeled considering covariates only, and compartment-wise relevances for acute stroke severity and 90-day mRS score were evaluated.

Results

There were 151 patients with LVO identified (age 68 ± 15 years, 52% female). The median NIHSS score was 16 (interquartile range 13–20); 56% had mRS score >2. Lesion locations predictive of 90-day mRS score involved bilateral but left hemispherically more pronounced precentral and postcentral gyri, insular and opercular cortex, and left putamen and caudate (area under the curve 0.91, highest probability density interval [HPDI] covering 90% certainty 0.90–0.92). The lesion location model outperformed the simpler model relying on covariates only (bayesian model comparison of 97% weight to the model with vs 3% weight to the model without lesion location). While lesions affecting subcortical nuclei had the highest relevance for stroke severity (posterior distribution mean 0.75, 90% HPDI 0.256–1.31), lesions affecting white matter tracts had the highest relevance for 90-day mRS score (0.656, 90% HPDI 0.0864–1.12).

Discussion

These data describe the significance for outcomes of specific brain regions involved in ischemic lesions on MRI after EVT. Future work in additional datasets is needed to confirm these granular findings.

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