Endovascular treatment of acute intracranial vertebrobasilar artery occlusion: a multicenter retrospective observational study

Neuroradiology. 2019 Dec;61(12):1477-1484. doi: 10.1007/s00234-019-02282-1. Epub 2019 Sep 4.


Purpose: This study aimed to evaluate prognostic parameters associated with favorable clinical prognosis and assess the feasibility and safety of three different treatment strategies in patients with acute intracranial vertebrobasilar artery occlusion (VBAO).

Methods: A total of 159 patients with acute VBAO at 3 stroke centers between September 2015 and October 2018 were retrospectively analyzed. Eighty-nine patients underwent mechanical thrombectomy (MT) alone, 43 underwent MT with additional rescue angioplasty, and 27 underwent primary balloon angioplasty (without or with stenting). In patients treated with primary or rescue balloon angioplasty (without or with stenting), a low-dose intra-arterial tirofiban injection was used. The reperfusion status was assessed after the procedure, and the functional outcome was assessed at 90-day follow-up. The baseline characteristics and 90-day prognosis of three different treatment subgroups were comparatively analyzed.

Results: Overall, successful reperfusion and a favorable outcome were achieved in 96.86% (154/159) and 46.54% (74/159) patients, respectively. The onset to puncture time (461.96 min vs 603.59 min, P = 0.000), procedure time (64.12 min vs 70.47 min, P = 0.007), and onset to reperfusion time (526.08 min vs 674.47 min, P = 0.000) were significantly shorter in patients with favorable outcomes than in those with poor outcomes. Among different endovascular treatment subgroups, no significant differences were found in successful reperfusion and 90-day outcome. Low-dose tirofiban did not increase the risk of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage and the 90-day mortality in patients with acute VBAO.

Conclusion: Individualized endovascular treatment strategy for selected patients with acute VBAO could achieve satisfactory reperfusion rate and favorable prognosis.

Keywords: Angioplasty; Mechanical thrombectomy; Prognosis; Tirofiban; Vertebrobasilar artery occlusion.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angioplasty
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Endovascular Procedures*
  • Female
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stents
  • Thrombectomy
  • Tirofiban / therapeutic use
  • Vertebrobasilar Insufficiency / diagnostic imaging
  • Vertebrobasilar Insufficiency / therapy*


  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Tirofiban