Background: Up to 20% of acute intracranial occlusions have an associated extracranial internal carotid artery (ICA) severe stenosis or occlusion, and they often need specific treatment. However, it remains unclear which is the best option for extracranial revascularization. We aimed to study differences in restenosis, complications, and stroke recurrences between patients treated with stenting and those who underwent angioplasty without stenting.
Methods: Prospective study of consecutive patients with non-cardioembolic ischemic stroke and occlusion or severe stenosis of the extracranial ICA, who underwent hyperacute endovascular procedure from April 2013 to December 2015. We divided patients depending on the extracranial treatment they received. We compared the rate of stenosis >50% or occlusion of the ICA at 24 hours (evaluated by carotid ultrasound or CTA). Besides, we analyzed differences in complications and stroke recurrences within 1 year of follow-up.
Results: From 97 patients who underwent hyperacute revascularization of the extracranial ICA, 63 fulfilled the inclusion criteria: mean age 65.6±13.6 years, median time from symptoms onset to treatment 249 [161-330] minutes. Thirty-one (49.2%) were treated with angioplasty and 32 (50.8%) with stent. Both groups were comparable in demographic data, vascular risk factors, previous treatment (including antiplatelets), and ASPECTS score. Thirty-seven (58.7%) received intravenous rtPA and 58 (92.1%) intracranial thrombectomy. Patients who underwent angioplasty presented stenosis >50% or occlusion at 24h more frequently than those who underwent stenting (67.7% vs 21.9%, p=0.002), regardless the degree of residual stenosis after the angioplasty. Thirteen (38.1%) of the angioplasties were permeable at 24 hours, nevertheless 39.1% needed a deferred stenting. There were no differences in complications, including intracranial hemorrhage, despite intravenous rtPA or early double antiplatelet therapy, as well as in stroke recurrences within 1 year (p>0.05 for all comparisons).
Conclusions: Hyperacute extracranial ICA stenting seems to have a lower risk of restenosis compared to angioplasty, without a significant increase of complications and stroke recurrences