Comparison between primary angioplasty and stent placement for symptomatic intracranial atherosclerotic disease: meta-analysis of case series

Neurosurgery. 2009 Dec;65(6):1024-33; discussion 1033-4. doi: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000360138.54474.52.


Objective: To compare the short- and long-term rates of stroke-and/or-death associated with primary angioplasty alone and angioplasty with stent placement using a meta-analysis of published studies. Both primary angioplasty alone and angioplasty with stent placement have been proposed as treatment strategies for symptomatic intracranial atherosclerotic disease to reduce the risk of stroke-and/or-death with best medical treatment alone. However, it remains unclear which of these endovascular techniques offers the best risk reduction.

Methods: We identified pertinent studies published between January 1980 and May 2008 using a search on PubMed and Cochrane libraries, supplemented by a review of bibliographies of selected publications. The incidences of stroke-and/or-death were estimated for each report and pooled for both angioplasty alone and angioplasty with stent placement at 1 month and 1 year postintervention and then compared using a random-effects model. The association of year of publication and 1-year incidence of stroke-and/or-death was analyzed with meta-regression.

Results: After applying our selection criteria, we included 69 studies (33 primary angioplasty-alone studies [1027 patients] and 36 studies of angioplasty with stent placement [1291 patients]) in the analysis. There were a total of 91 stroke-and/or-deaths reported in the angioplasty-alone-treated group (8.9%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 7.1%-10.6%), compared with 104 stroke-and/or-deaths in the angioplasty-with-stent-treated group (8.1%; 95% CI, 6.6%-9.5%) during a 1-month period (relative risk [RR], 1.1; P = 0.48). The pooled incidence of 1-year stroke-and/or-death in patients treated with angioplasty alone was 19.7% (95% CI, 16.6%-23.5%), compared with 14.2% (95% CI, 11.9%-16.9%) in the angioplasty-with-stent-treated patients (RR, 1.39; P = 0.009). The incidence of technical success was 79.8% (95% CI, 74.7%-84.8%) in the angioplasty-alone group and 95% (95% CI, 93.4%-96.6%) in the angioplasty-with-stent-treated group (RR, 0.84; P < 0.0001). The pooled restenosis rate was 14.2% (95% CI, 11.8-16.6%) in the angioplasty-alone group, as compared with 11.1% (95% CI, 9.2%-13.0%) in the angioplasty-with-stent-treated group (RR, 1.28; P = 0.04). There was no effect of the publication year of the studies on the risk of stroke-and/or-death.

Conclusion: Risk of 1-year stroke-and/or-death and rate of angiographic restenosis may be lower in symptomatic intracranial atherosclerosis patients treated by angioplasty with stent placement compared with patients treated by angioplasty alone.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angioplasty / methods*
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stents*
  • Treatment Outcome