Atrial fibrillation is associated with higher first pass effect following thrombectomy for large vessel occlusion

Presaad Pillai, Steven J. Bush, Yohanna Kusuma, Leonid Churilov, Richard J. Dowling, Vu Dang Luu, Stephen M. Davis, Peter J. Mitchell, Bernard Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: First pass effect (FPE), defined as single-pass complete or near complete reperfusion during endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) for large vessel occlusion (LVO) strokes, is a critical performance metric. Atrial fibrillation (AF)-related strokes have different clot composition compared with non-AF strokes, which may impact thrombectomy reperfusion results. We compared FPE rates in AF and non-AF stroke patients to evaluate if AF-related strokes had higher FPE rates. Methods: We conducted a post-hoc analysis of the DIRECT-SAFE trial data, including patients with retrievable clots on the initial angiographic run. Patients were categorized into AF and non-AF groups. The primary outcome was the presence or absence of FPE (single-pass, single-device resulting in complete/near complete reperfusion) in AF and non-AF groups. We used multivariable logistic regression to examine the association between FPE and AF, adjusting for thrombolysis pre-thrombectomy and clot location. Results: We included 253 patients (67 with AF, 186 without AF). AF patients were older (mean age: 74 years vs 67.5 years, p=0.001), had a higher proportion of females (55% vs 40%, p=0.044), and experienced more severe strokes (median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score: 17 vs 14, p=0.009) than non-AF patients. No differences were observed in thrombolytic agent usage, time metrics, or clot location. AF patients achieved a higher proportion of FPE compared with non-AF patients (55.22% vs 37.3%, adjusted odds ratio 2.00 (95% CI 1.13 to 3.55), p=0.017). Conclusions: AF-related strokes in LVO patients treated with EVT were associated with FPE. This highlights the need for preparedness for multiple passes and potential adjuvant/rescue therapy in non-AF-related strokes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjnis-2023-020512
JournalJournal of NeuroInterventional Surgery
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Angiography
  • Stroke
  • Technique
  • Thrombectomy
  • Vessel Wall


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