Modelling the impact of clot fragmentation on the microcirculation after thrombectomy



El-Bouri, Wahbi, MacGowan, Andrew, Józsa, Tamás, Gounis, Matthew and Payne, Stephen ORCID: 0000-0003-1156-2810
(2020) Modelling the impact of clot fragmentation on the microcirculation after thrombectomy. [Preprint]

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Abstract

1 Many ischaemic stroke patients who have a mechanical removal of their clot (thrombectomy) do not get reperfusion of tissue despite the thrombus being removed. One hypothesis for this ‘no-reperfusion’ phenomenon is micro-emboli fragmenting off the large clot during thrombectomy and occluding smaller blood vessels downstream of the clot location. This is impossible to observe in-vivo and so we here develop an in-silico model based on in-vitro experiments to model the effect of micro-emboli on brain tissue. Through in-vitro experiments we obtain, under a variety of clot consistencies and thrombectomy techniques, micro-emboli distributions post-thrombectomy. Blood flow through the microcirculation is modelled for statistically accurate voxels of brain microvasculature including penetrating arterioles and capillary beds. A novel micro-emboli algorithm, informed by the experimental data, is used to simulate the impact of micro-emboli successively entering the penetrating arterioles and the capillary bed. Scaled-up blood flow parameters – permeability and coupling coefficients – are calculated under various conditions. We find that capillary beds are more susceptible to occlusions than the penetrating arterioles with a 4x greater drop in permeability per volume of vessel occluded. Individual microvascular geometries determine robustness to micro-emboli. Hard clot fragmentation leads to larger micro-emboli and larger drops in blood flow for a given number of micro-emboli. Thrombectomy technique has a large impact on clot fragmentation and hence occlusions in the microvasculature. As such, in-silico modelling of mechanical thrombectomy predicts that clot specific factors, interventional technique, and microvascular geometry strongly influence reperfusion of the brain. Micro-emboli are likely contributory to the phenomenon of no-reperfusion following successful removal of a major clot. 2 <h4>Author summary</h4> After an ischaemic stroke - one where a clot blocks a major artery in the brain - patients can undergo a procedure where the clot is removed mechanically with a stent - a thrombectomy. This reopens the blocked vessel, yet some patients don’t achieve blood flow returning to their tissue downstream. One hypothesis for this phenomenon is that the clot fragments into smaller clots (called micro-emboli) which block smaller vessels downstream. However, this can’t be measured in patients due to the inability of clinical imaging resolving the micro-scale. We therefore develop a computational model here, based on experimental thrombectomy data, to quantify the impact of micro-emboli on blood flow in the brain after the removal of a clot. With this model, we found that micro-emboli are a likely contributor to the no-reflow phenomenon after a thrombectomy. Individual blood vessel geometries, clot composition, and thrombectomy technique all impacted the effect of micro-emboli on blood flow and should be taken into consideration to minimise the impact of micro-emboli in the brain. Furthermore, the computational model developed here allows us to now build large-scale models of blood flow in the brain, and hence simulate stroke and the impact of micro-emboli on the entire brain.

Item Type: Preprint
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Life Courses and Medical Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 10 May 2021 08:02
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2022 11:32
DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.30.403808
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3122117

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