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Stroke. 2008 Sep;39(9):2505-10. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.108.515361. Epub 2008 Jul 24.

Comparison of primary angioplasty with stent placement for treating symptomatic intracranial atherosclerotic diseases: a multicenter study.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, D-429, University of Minnesota, 420 Delaware St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.



We sought to compare the clinical outcomes between primary angioplasty and stent placement for symptomatic intracranial atherosclerosis.


We retrospectively analyzed the clinical and angiographic data of 190 patients treated with 95 primary angioplasty procedures and 98 intracranial stent placements (total of 193 procedures) in 3 tertiary care centers. Stroke and combined stroke and/or death were identified as primary clinical end points during the periprocedural and follow-up period of 5 years. The rates of significant postoperative residual stenosis (>/=50% of greater stenosis immediately after the procedure) and binary restenosis (>/=50% stenosis at follow-up angiography within 3 years) were also compared. The comparative analysis was performed after adjusting for age, sex, and center.


Fourteen procedures in the angioplasty-treated group (15%) and 4 in the stent-treated group (4.1%) had significant postoperative residual stenosis (relative risk [RR]=2.8, 95% CI, 0.85 to 9.5, P=0.09, for the adjusted model). There were 3 periprocedural deaths (1.5%), 1 in the angioplasty group (1.1%) and 2 in the stent-treated group (2.0%) and 14 periprocedural strokes (7.3%), 7 periprocedural strokes in each group (7.4% and 7.1%, respectively; hazard ratio=1.1; 95% CI, 0.57 to 1.9, P=0.85). Angiographic follow-up was available for 134 procedures (66 angioplasty-treated and 68 stent-treated cases). Forty-eight procedures (36.1%) had evidence of binary restenosis (25 of 66 angioplasties, 23 of 68 stents, P=0.85). Binary restenosis-free survival at 12 months was 68% for the angioplasty-treated group and 64% for the stent-treated group. There was no difference in follow-up survival (stroke, or stroke and/or death) between the angioplasty-treated and the stent-treated groups (hazard ratio=0.54; 95% CI, 0.11 to 2.5, P=0.44 and hazard ratio=0.50; 95%, CI 0.17 to 1.5, P=0.22, respectively, after adjusting for age, sex, and center). The stroke- and/or death-free survival at 2 years for the angioplasty-treated group and the stent-treated group was 92+/-4% and 89+/-5%, respectively.


Stent treatment for intracranial atherosclerosis may lower the rate of significant postoperative residual stenosis compared with primary angioplasty alone. No benefit of stent placement over primary angioplasty in reducing stroke or stroke and/or death could be identified in this study.

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