Angioplasty and stenting of symptomatic vertebral artery stenosis: Clinical and angiographic follow-up of 206 cases from Northwest Iran
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Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) has recently become a noteworthy treatment option for significant stenosis involving the vertebral artery (VA) in selected patients. We conducted a prospective study to evaluate the efficacy, safety and mid-term follow up results of 206 cases received PTA with or without stent implant to treat their symptomatic atherosclerotic VA stenosis in all segments (V1-V4). In a prospective mono-arm trial from October 2008 to July 2012 in a single center, 239 lesions affecting the intra or extracranial VA (171 in V1, 17 in V2, 14 in V3, 21 in V4 and 16 in combined segments) were treated by PTA with or without stent implant. Non-disabling stroke patients who had failed conservative medical treatment and had angiographic evidence of >50% stenosis in the dominant VA with clinical signs and symptoms of VB stenosis were included in this study. They were mean followed for 13.15آ±5.24 months after treatment. Overall, 206 patients underwent the procedure. A stent was implemented in 199 patients (96.6%). The periprocedural complication rate was 7.2%. The procedural (technical) success rate was 97.6%. Of the total 239 lesions, 223 were treated with stent implant. Clinical success was achieved in all 206 symptomatic patients after the procedure. Restenosis occurred in 15.9% after a mean 10.8 (6-24) months. Of those, 63.1% and 34.2% had mild and moderate stenosis that was treated medically, whereas one case (2.6%) with severe restenosis underwent balloon angioplasty. No deaths occurred during the follow-up period. The follow-up complication rate was 6.3%. TIA occurred in 4.4%, a minor stroke in 1.4% and a major stroke in one patient. The overall patient event-free survival was 92.4%. These results demonstrate the safety and feasibility of PTA with or without stent implant, with a high technical success rate, a low complication rate, a low restenosis rate and durable clinical success in patients with symptomatic VA stenosis. This approach seems to improve patients' immediate and mid-term clinical results. Randomized controlled trials are necessary to further validate this treatment option.