Safety and efficacy of venoplasty in MS: A randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled phase II trial

Neurology. 2018 Oct 30;91(18):e1660-e1668. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000006423. Epub 2018 Sep 28.


Objective: To determine the safety and efficacy of balloon vs sham venoplasty of narrowing of the extracranial jugular and azygos veins in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Methods: Patients with relapsing or progressive MS were screened using clinical and ultrasound criteria. After confirmation of >50% narrowing by venography, participants were randomized 1:1 to receive balloon or sham venoplasty of all stenoses and were followed for 48 weeks. Participants and research staff were blinded to intervention allocation. The primary safety outcome was the number of adverse events (AEs) during 48 weeks. The primary efficacy outcome was the change from baseline to week 48 in the patient-reported outcome MS Quality of Life-54 (MSQOL-54) questionnaire. Standardized clinical and MRI outcomes were also evaluated.

Results: One hundred four participants were randomized (55 sham; 49 venoplasty) and 103 completed 48 weeks of follow-up. Twenty-three sham and 21 venoplasty participants reported at least 1 AE; one sham (2%) and 5 (10%) venoplasty participants had a serious AE. The mean improvement in MSQOL-54 physical score was +1.3 (sham) and +1.4 (venoplasty) (p = 0.95); MSQOL-54 mental score was +1.2 (sham) and -0.8 (venoplasty) (p = 0.55).

Conclusions: Our data do not support the continued use of venoplasty of extracranial jugular and/or azygous venous narrowing to improve patient-reported outcomes, chronic MS symptoms, or the disease course of MS.

Clinicaltrialsgov identifier: NCT01864941.

Classification of evidence: This study provides Class I evidence that for patients with MS, balloon venoplasty of extracranial jugular and azygous veins is not beneficial in improving patient-reported, standardized clinical, or MRI outcomes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Angioplasty, Balloon / methods*
  • Azygos Vein / surgery*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Jugular Veins / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / therapy*

Associated data