Carotid Vibro-Compression: A Reperfusive Treatment for Acute Ischemic Stroke? Feasibility Data and a Potential Risk / Benefit Discussion in View to Animal Testing

Andrew Hoffmann and Harjit Gill

Slow uncertain reperfusion in Acute Ischemic Stroke (AIS) by intravenous thrombolysis has prompted search for alternative therapies. Pressure/flow disturbances from rapid compressions (20 – 24 Hz) of a clotted flow tube remote from thrombosis site have shown to assist reflow. Carotid Vibro-Compression (VC), a potentially risky maneuver, may therefore enhance AIS reperfusion but verification is needed that vibro-compressions would transmit flow disturbances to the cerebral arteries. From a pool of 15 volunteers (mean age 48) carotid compressions (5 to 8 Hz, < = ~1 cm) (n =11) and vibration (30 Hz ~ 1 mm) (n = 10) were independently and together implemented with ipsilateral and contralateral Doppler flow monitoring of an intra-cranial artery. Doppler pulses from compressions were immediately demonstrated in all vessels (26 / 26) under all conditions. Pulses from vibration were observable in a majority of vessels (22 / 25), but signals were often challenging to obtain. Mean intra-cranial flow velocities trended to increase during compressions (46.1 ± 6 .4 cm/s vs. 44.0 ± 4.9 cm/s), but the difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.06). Carotid VC reliably transmits flow pulses to the cerebral vasculature, however vibration requires biofeedback to ensure device positioning. Carotid VC appears feasible for animal testing, but safety remains a major question.