Acute treatment of stroke due to spontaneous calcified cerebral emboli causing large vessel occlusion

Document Type





Introduction: Calcified cerebral emboli (CCE) are rarely responsible for large vessel occlusion (LVO) in acute anterior stroke, and therefore therapeutic experience is scarce. We sought to expand current knowledge upon therapeutic options with three new cases and a review of current literature.

Methods: Systematic search of patients with acute anterior stroke due to LVO in one comprehensive stroke center throughout a 4 year period. Literature search for reported cases of CCE.

Results: In total, 21 cases (19 found in literature and 3 from our institution) are reported with a median age of 72 years (interquartile range [IQR] 63-80). Eleven patients were treated acutely, 4 of them with endovascular thrombectomy (EVT). Middle cerebral artery (MCA) M1 was the most affected segment and large artery atherosclerosis (LAA) and cardioembolism (CE) was causative in 41% of cases. EVT was significantly superior to intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA) at p = .048 (Fisher's exact test, chi square 6.7).

Conclusions: Given the small sample reported in literature and no reported randomised studies, definitive recommendations could not be reached. However, considering thrombus composition, thrombolysis is most probably not sufficient and priority should be given to EVT.


Review Article.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of clinical neuroscience : official journal of the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia.