Kara Jo Swafford, MD

Berndt M, Friedrich B, Maegerlein C, Moench S, Hedderich D, Lehm M, et al. Thrombus Permeability in Admission Computed Tomographic Imaging Indicates Stroke Pathogenesis Based on Thrombus Histology. Stroke. 2018

Mechanical thrombectomy for treatment of an acute ischemic stroke caused by a large vessel occlusion provides the possibility of histological study of the thrombus, which is composed of fibrin, platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells. Higher fibrin content is associated with a cardiogenic origin. Clot permeability or perviousness depends on its constituents and can be assessed by the quantity of contrast present within the thrombus on CT angiography (CTA).

Berndt et al. assessed the correlation between the histological composition of clot retrieved by mechanical thrombectomy and the perviousness of the clot on CTA. They hypothesized that clot perviousness could assist in determining the stroke pathogenesis, guiding clinical decisions related to secondary stroke prevention. They found that permeable thrombi consist of mainly fibrin-platelet conglomerations and fewer red blood cells and were associated with cardioembolic stroke. Conversely, they found that lower perviousness was associated with thrombi containing mostly red blood cells and were most likely of noncardioembolic origin.

Measurement of clot perviousness using CTA can complement histological assessment and may be a simple and quick diagnostic tool to assist with identifying stroke mechanism. This may prove helpful when stroke mechanism is otherwise uncertain. Limitations of this study include its small sample size and inclusion of only patients with middle cerebral artery occlusions, possibly restricting applicability to other intracranial vessel occlusions. There was an unequal distribution of pathogeneses, with more cardioembolic and cryptogenic causes compared to noncardioembolic causes.