Endovascular treatment of symptomatic high-grade vertebral artery stenosis

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the initial and long-term results of endovascular treatment (EVT) in patients with symptomatic high-grade extracranial vertebral artery (VA) origin stenosis.


From February 2001 to March 2013, 73 consecutive patients (33 men with a mean age of 61.7 ± 8.8 years) underwent EVT for symptomatic high-grade VA stenosis. Preoperative evaluation included Duplex ultrasonography and arteriography. After successful treatment, all patients were followed up at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after the procedure and every 6 months thereafter.


Successful EVT of the VA stenosis was achieved in 68 patients (93.2%). All procedures were performed without use of cerebral protection. The early complication rate was 5.5%, which included one periprocedural transient ischemic attack, two hematomas at the puncture site, and one allergic reaction to the contrast agent. No in-hospital deaths occurred. During follow-up (mean, 44.3 ± 31.2 months; range, 2-144 months), the primary patency rates at 1, 3, 5, and 7 years were 98.4%, 87.3%, 87.3%, and 87.3%, respectively. Ultrasound Doppler controls during follow-up detected seven VA restenoses (10.3%). Univariate analysis failed to identify any variable predictive of long-term patency of successfully treated VA stenosis.


EVT of symptomatic VA origin stenosis is a safe and effective procedure associated with low risk and good long-term results, even without use of cerebral protection devices.

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