Can restoring incomplete microcirculatory reperfusion improve stroke outcome after thrombolysis?


JOURNAL OF CEREBRAL BLOOD FLOW AND METABOLISM, vol.32, no.12, pp.2091-2099, 2012 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Substantial experimental data and recent clinical evidence suggesting that tissue reperfusion is a better predictor of outcome after thrombolysis than recanalization necessitate that patency of microcirculation after recanalization should be reevaluated. If indeed microcirculatory blood flow cannot be sufficiently reinstituted despite complete recanalization as commonly observed in coronary circulation, it may be one of the factors contributing to low efficacy of thrombolysis in stroke. Although microvascular no-reflow is considered an irreversible process that prevents tissue recovery from injury, emerging evidence suggests that it might be reversed with pharmacological agents administered early during recanalization. Therefore, therapeutic approaches aiming at reducing microvascular obstructions may improve success rate of recanalization therapies. Importantly, promoting oxygen delivery to the tissue, where entrapped erythrocytes cannot circulate in capillaries, with ongoing serum flow may improve survival of the underreperfused tissue. Altogether, these developments bring about the exciting possibility that benefit of reperfusion therapies can be further improved by restoring microcirculatory function because survival in the penumbra critically depends on adequate blood supply. Here, we review the available evidence suggesting presence of an 'incomplete microcirculatory reperfusion' (IMR) after focal cerebral ischemia and discuss potential means that may help investigate IMR in stroke patients after recanalization therapies despite technical limitations. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism (2012) 32, 2091-2099; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2012.139; published online 10 October 2012