Vertebral artery stenting following percutaneous transluminal angioplasty

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  • 1 Departments of Radiology and Neurosurgery, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, California
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✓ The authors report initial results and follow up using stent placement to treat atherosclerotic stenosis in vertebral arteries. Three patients with severe atherosclerotic vascular disease underwent vertebral artery stent placement using a balloon expandable stent. Medical therapy (aspirin and warfarin) and conventional percutaneous angioplasty failed to resolve the disease and the patients developed symptomatic restenosis within 3 months of angioplasty. Two patients had symptoms of anterior circulation ischemia with carotid artery occlusions and reduced supply to the anterior circulation from the stenosed vertebral arteries. One patient had recurrent posterior circulation symptoms. Stents were successfully placed in all three, resulting in immediate reversal of stenosis and resolution of symptoms. Clinical follow-up study (mean 9 months) has shown no recurrent symptoms in the patient with posterior circulation symptoms, but the two patients with anterior circulation ischemia did develop recurrent symptoms. Angiographic follow up in these two patients at 3 months and 1 year, however, demonstrated continued patency of vertebral artery lumina. They underwent extracranial—intracranial bypass surgery to relieve their symptoms. This experience suggests stents can be placed without complication in the proximal vertebral arteries and may have an adjunctive role in the treatment of atherosclerotic cerebrovascular disease following unsuccessful angioplasty.

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