Malpractice Lawsuits Relating to Mechanical Thrombectomy for Acute Ischemic Stroke: A Systematic Review

Kasim Qureshi*, Muhammad U. Farooq, Philip B. Gorelick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Purpose: Medical-legal claims for malpractice relating to the use of alteplase for acute ischemic stroke (AIS) are usually for failure to treat rather than for complications. The advent of mechanical thrombectomy (MT) as a standard of AIS treatment has added a new dimension to the medical-legal landscape as there is a need for the delivery of a higher level of care creating the potential for delays and errors associated with such treatment. Information on causes of malpractice related to mechanical thrombectomy (MT) is currently lacking. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of legal databases (Westlaw, LexisNexis, Google Scholar Case Law, and VerdictSearch) to identify medical malpractice cases with and without verdicts filed in the United States up to March 31, 2021 which pertained to performance or non-performance of MT for AIS. We collected various case characteristics, case outcomes, and root causes for malpractice claims. Results: We found 25 cases, 16 of which alleged failure to treat with MT, 8 for harm due to delay in treatment and 1 case that alleged complications. Root causes included delay in vascular imaging, communication breakdowns, and transportation delays. Eight cases had an outcome in favor of the defendant, 9 in favor of the plaintiff, and 8 remained to be determined. Conclusions: As with alteplase, malpractice allegations regarding MT for AIS are largely for failure to treat or delay in treatment as opposed to complications. Addressing root causes of diagnostic delay, communication breakdowns, and transportation delays may reduce subsequent malpractice risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-235
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • carotid artery diseases
  • stroke
  • transient ischemic attack

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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