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Evidence to Improve Care

Mechanical Thrombectomy for Patients with Acute Ischemic Stroke

Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee Recommendation

  • The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee recommends publicly funding stent retrievers and thromboaspiration devices for mechanical thrombectomy in patients with acute ischemic stroke, in selected stroke centres identified by the Ontario Stroke Network.

Read the full OHTAC Recommendation report

Acute ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked. Symptoms of a stroke include muscle weakness such as paralysis on one side of the body, dizziness and slurred speech. In some cases stroke can cause death. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Canada.

When a patient has an ischemic stroke, health care professionals must work quickly to try to open up the blocked blood vessels to improve blood flow to the brain. This can be done using a treatment called intravenous thrombolysis or a newer treatment called mechanical thrombectomy.

Health Quality Ontario Reviews Mechanical Thrombectomy for Patients with Acute Ischemic Stroke

Mechanical thrombectomy involves the insertion of a catheter to guide a clot-disrupting device, known as a stent retriever or thromboaspiration device, to a blockage in a cerebral artery located in the brain. The device retrieves the blockage and removes it from the artery. This report focused on newer mechanical thrombectomy devices (retrievable stents and second generation thrombus aspiration devices).

Mechanical Thrombectomy in Patients With Acute Ischemic Stroke: A Health Technology Assessment (PDF)

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The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has accepted this recommendation.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: The Ministry is providing funding to support mechanical thrombectomy procedures in six stroke centers.

Health Technology Assessment at Health Quality Ontario

As part of our core function to promote health care supported by the best available evidence, we use established scientific methods to analyze the evidence for a wide range of health interventions, including diagnostic tests, medical devices, interventional and surgical procedures, health care programs and models of care. These analyses are informed by input from a range of individuals, including patients and clinical experts. The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee — a committee of the Health Quality Ontario board of directors — reviews the evidence and makes recommendations about whether health care interventions should be publicly funded or not. Draft recommendations are posted on the Health Quality Ontario website for feedback. Final recommendations are approved by our board of directors and then shared with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. For more detailed information, visit our Evidence to Improve Care pages.


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