Specialist Perspectives on the Imaging Selection of Large Vessel Occlusion in the Late Window

Klein P, Huo X, Chen Y, Abdalkader M, Qiu Z, Nagel S, Raymond J, Liu L, Siegler JE, Strbian D, Field TS, Yaghi S, Qureshi MM, Demeestere J, Puetz V, Berberich A, Michel P, Fischer U, Kaesmacher J, Yamagami H, Alemseged F, Tsivgoulis G, Schonewille WJ, Hu W, Liu X, Li C, Ji X, Drumm B, Banerjee S, Sacco S, Sandset EC, Kristoffersen ES, Slade P, Mikulik R, Romoli M, Diana F, Krishnan K, Dhillon P, Lee JS, Kasper E, Dasenbrock H, Ton MD, Masiliūnas R, Arsovska AA, Marto JP, Dmytriw AA, Regenhardt RW, Silva GS, Siepmann T, Sun D, Sang H, Diestro JD, Yang P, Mohammaden MH, Li F, Masoud HE, Ma A, Raynald, Ganesh A, Liu J, Meyer L, Dippel DWJ, Thomalla G, Parsons M, Qureshi AI, Goyal M, Yoo AJ, Lapergue B, Zaidat OO, Chen HS, Campbell BCV, Jovin TG, Nogueira RG, Miao Z, Saposnik G, Nguyen TN.

Clin Neuroradiol. 2023 Apr 3:1–11. doi: 10.1007/s00062-023-01284-0. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37010551; PMCID:PMC10069362.

17 Apr 2023

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Background: The proper imaging modality for use in the selection of patients for endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) presenting in the late window remains controversial, despite current guidelines advocating the use of advanced imaging in this population. We sought to understand if clinicians with different specialty training differ in their approach to patient selection for EVT in the late time window.

Methods: We conducted an international survey of stroke and neurointerventional clinicians between January and May 2022 with questions focusing on imaging and treatment decisions of large vessel occlusion (LVO) patients presenting in the late window. Interventional neurologists, interventional neuroradiologists, and endovascular neurosurgeons were defined as interventionists whereas all other specialties were defined as non-interventionists. The non-interventionist group was defined by all other specialties of the respondents: stroke neurologist, neuroradiologist, emergency medicine physician, trainee (fellows and residents) and others.

Results: Of 3000 invited to participate, 1506 (1027 non-interventionists, 478 interventionists, 1 declined to specify) physicians completed the study. Interventionist respondents were more likely to proceed directly to EVT (39.5% vs. 19.5%; p < 0.0001) compared to non-interventionist respondents in patients with favorable ASPECTS (Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score). Despite no difference in access to advanced imaging, interventionists were more likely to prefer CT/CTA alone (34.8% vs. 21.0%) and less likely to prefer CT/CTA/CTP (39.1% vs. 52.4%) for patient selection (p < 0.0001). When faced with uncertainty, non-interventionists were more likely to follow clinical guidelines (45.1% vs. 30.2%) while interventionists were more likely to follow their assessment of evidence (38.7% vs. 27.0%) (p < 0.0001).

Conclusion: Interventionists were less likely to use advanced imaging techniques in selecting LVO patients presenting in the late window and more likely to base their decisions on their assessment of evidence rather than published guidelines. These results reflect gaps between interventionists and non-interventionists reliance on clinical guidelines, the limits of available evidence, and clinician belief in the utility of advanced imaging.

Keywords: ASPECTS; Endovascular thrombectomy; Large vessel occlusion; Late window; Mechanical thrombectomy.

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