Intracranial atherosclerosis

Lancet. 2014 Mar 15;383(9921):984-98. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61088-0. Epub 2013 Sep 2.


Atherosclerotic disease often involves the intracranial arteries including those encased by cranial bones and dura, and those located in the subarachnoid space. Age, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus are independent risk factors for intracranial atherosclerosis. Intracranial atherosclerosis can result in thromboembolism with or without hypoperfusion leading to transient or permanent cerebral ischaemic events. High rates of recurrent ischaemic stroke and other cardiovascular events mandate early diagnosis and treatment. Present treatment is based on a combination of antiplatelet drugs, optimisation of blood pressure and LDL cholesterol values, and intracranial angioplasty or stent placement, or both, in selected patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Angioplasty
  • Brain Ischemia / etiology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriosclerosis / complications
  • Intracranial Arteriosclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Intracranial Arteriosclerosis / epidemiology
  • Intracranial Arteriosclerosis / therapy
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Stents
  • Stroke / etiology


  • Fibrinolytic Agents