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Stenting Versus Medical Treatment for Severe Symptomatic Intracranial Stenosis


Stenting Versus Medical Treatment for Severe Symptomatic Intracranial Stenosis

C-W Tang et al. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol.


Background and purpose: Intracranial atherosclerosis is especially prevalent in Asians, but intracranial stent placement and medical treatment for severe intracranial stenosis are controversial. Thus, we compared long-term outcomes of these 2 therapeutic approaches in an Asian population.

Materials and methods: Patients with angiographically proved severe (≥70%) symptomatic intracranial atherosclerosis, with or without stent placement, were retrospectively reviewed at a single center between 2002 and 2009, with adjustments for age, sex, vascular risk factors, degree of baseline stenosis, and baseline functional status.

Results: Of the 114 patients followed from 3 to 36 months (mean, 17.3 months) after initial diagnosis, 53 received 56 stents in addition to medical treatment (stent-placement group), and 61 matched patients received only medical treatment (medical group). Total clinical events, including stroke, TIA, and vascular death, were 12 (22.6%) and 15 (24.6%) in the stent-placement and medical groups, respectively (P = .99). The stent-placement group had significantly better functional outcomes than the medical group (94.3% versus 78.7% for mRS scores of 0-3, P = .045). Most events in the stent-placement group occurred within the first week of the periprocedural period (17.0%) as minor embolic or perforator infarctions, and the rate of events decreased thereafter (5.7%, P = .07). Stent placement over the perforator-rich MCA and BA independently predicted periprocedural events on multivariate regression analysis. In the medical group, events increased in frequency (21.7%) and severity with time.

Conclusions: Although the total ischemic event rate was similar in the 2 groups during a 3-year follow-up, the stent-placement group had a more favorable functional outcome despite minor periprocedural strokes.

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