Objectives: To compare the technical and 1-year outcomes of balloon-mounted versus self-expanding stents for symptomatic intracranial vertebrobasilar artery stenosis. Methods: 167 patients with severe intracranial vertebrobasilar artery atherosclerotic stenosis with poor collaterals were enrolled. Both balloon-mounted stenting and self-expanding stent placement were selected to treat patients. The baseline characteristics, cerebral angiography and clinical follow-up were assessed between the two groups. Results: The overall mean stenosis degree was reduced from 82.8 ± 11.8% pre-stent placement to 9.41 ± 8.20% post-stent placement. Patients treated with self-expanding stent were more likely to undergo general anesthesia (81.2% versus 67.3%; P = 0.048) and have longer operative times (91.0 ± 25.1 min versus 67.9 ± 17.1 min, P = 0.012) than those treated with self-expanding stents. Patients treated with self-expanding stents were more likely to require longer and larger diameter stents (14.99 ± 3.26 mm versus 9.23 ± 2.46 mm, P = 0.000; 3.28 ± 0.57 mm versus 2.74 ± 0.30 mm, P = 0.000, respectively). The degree of residual stenosis in self-expanding stent group was higher than patients treated with balloon-mounted stents (13.39 ± 8.64% versus 6.70 ± 6.62%, P = 0.000). The rates of stroke, transient ischemic attack or death at 1-year follow-up were not significantly different between two groups (P > 0.05). Conclusions: Stenting for patients with severe symptomatic intracranial vertebrobasilar arterial stenosis with poor collaterals can be performed safely with efficacy. Patients treated with balloon-mounted stents appear to have shorter operative times and lower re-stenosis rates than treated with self-expanding stents.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis; stenosis; stent; stroke; vertebrobasilar artery.