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Int J Stroke. 2006 Feb;1(1):20-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-4949.2005.00014.x.

Management of patients with symptomatic intracranial atherosclerosis.

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Department of Medicine & Therapeutics, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong, China.


Intracranial atherosclerosis is a common cause of stroke, accounting for about 50% of ischaemic stroke in Asia and 8% in North America. Many prospective studies have confirmed that intracranial stenosis is an independent predictor for poor outcomes such as recurrent vascular event and death, despite the use of antiplatelet agents. The annual event rate is about 15% per year. The dismal outcome prompts the study of more aggressive treatment strategies, including warfarin and endovascular intervention. We have reviewed the published literature for the treatment of symptomatic intracranial stenosis. The Warfarin-Aspirin Symptomatic Intracranial Disease (WASID) trial and Warfarin-Aspirin Recurrent Stroke Study (WARSS) studies failed to show that oral anticoagulation was better than aspirin in IAS. Initial encouraging results were found in the use of dual antiplatelet therapy in arresting the progression of stenosis. The results of the endovascular studies are mixed: there are more encouraging results with recent advances of technology in stent design, but a randomized controlled study is still lacking. Although there is still no established therapy for IAS, the results of ongoing randomized clinical trials to study dual antiplatelet agents and the use of endovascular intervention may soon provide clinicians with more evidence to better manage patients with this condition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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