A randomized trial comparing primary angioplasty versus stent placement for symptomatic intracranial stenosis

J Vasc Interv Neurol. 2013 Dec;6(2):34-41.


Background: Both primary angioplasty alone and angioplasty with a self-expanding stent have been compared in non-randomized concurrent clinical studies that suggest equivalent results. However, there is no randomized trial that has compared the two procedures in patients with symptomatic high grade intracranial stenosis.

Objective: The primary aim of the randomized trial was to compare the clinical and angiographic efficacy of primary angioplasty and angioplasty followed by stent placement in preventing restenosis, stroke, requirement for second treatment, and death in patients with symptomatic intracranial stenosis.

Methods: The study prospectively evaluated efficacy and safety of the two existing neurointerventional techniques for treatment of moderate intracranial stenosis (stenosis ≥ 50%) with documented failure of medical treatment or severe stenosis (≥70%) with or without failure of medical treatment.

Results: A total of 18 patients were recruited in the study (mean age [±SD] was 64.7 ± 15.1 years); out of these, 12 were men. Of these 18, 10 were treated with primary angioplasty and 8 were treated with angioplasty followed by self-expanding stent. The technical success rates of intracranial angioplasty and stent placements defined as ability to achieve <30% residual stenosis when assessed by immediate post-procedure angiography was 5 of 10 and 5 of 8 patients, respectively. The total fluoroscopic time (mean [±SD]) was lower in patients undergoing primary angioplasty 37 [±11] min versus those undergoing angioplasty followed by self-expanding stent 42 [±15] min, P = 0.4321. The stroke and death rate within 1 month was very low in both patient groups (1 of 10 versus 0 of 8 patients). One patient randomized to stent placement continued to have recurrent ischemic symptoms requiring another angioplasty in the vertebral artery on post-procedure Day 2.

Conclusions: The trial suggests that a randomized trial comparing primary angioplasty to angioplasty followed by stent placement is feasible. The immediate procedural outcomes with primary angioplasty are comparable to stent placement and warrant further studies.

Keywords: intracranial atherosclerosis; intracranial stenosis; primary angioplasty; randomized trial; stent; stroke.