Differential Contribution of ASPECTS Regions to Clinical Outcome after Thrombectomy for Acute Ischemic Stroke

Background and purpose: Ischemic stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in adults, but our ability to prognosticate from baseline imaging data is limited. The ASPECTS measures ischemic change in the middle cerebral artery territory on noncontrast CT based on 10 anatomic regions. Here, we investigated whether infarction in particular regions was associated with worse long-term outcome.

Materials and methods: We identified consecutive patients receiving mechanical thrombectomy for ICA/MCA occlusion at 2 comprehensive stroke centers. Pretreatment ASPECTS was assessed by 2 blinded reviewers. Clinical data including demographics, baseline NIHSS score, and 90-day mRS were collected. The relationship between individual ASPECTS regions and the mRS score (0-2 versus 3-6) was assessed using multivariable logistic regression.

Results: Three hundred fifty-three patients were included (mean age, 70 years; 46% men), of whom 214 had poor outcome (mRS = 3-6). Caudate (OR = 3.26; 95% CI, 1.33-8.82), M4 region (OR = 2.94; 95% CI, 1.09-9.46), and insula (OR = 1.75; 95% CI, 1.08-2.85) infarcts were associated with significantly greater odds of poor outcome, whereas M1 region infarction reduced the odds of poor outcome (OR = 0.38; 95% CI, 0.14-0.99). This finding remained unchanged when restricted to only patients with good recanalization. No significant associations were found by laterality. Similarly, no region was predictive of neurologic improvement during the first 24 hours or of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that ASPECTS regions are not equal in their contribution to functional outcome. This finding suggests that patient selection based on total ASPECTS alone might be insufficient, and infarct topography should be considered when deciding eligibility for thrombectomy.