Background Posterior circulation strokes comprise approximately 20–25% of all strokes of ischemic origin. Strokes affecting this area carry a significantly higher risk for subsequent stroke or death as compared to anterior circulation strokes. Embolic protection device (EPD) use for carotid artery stenosis has translated into percutaneous interventions of proximal vertebral artery (VA) stenosis. However, the use of EPDs when treating intracranial lesions has yet to be studied and may not be feasible as the vessel caliber is frequently smaller than in existing devices.
Objective The aim of this study is to describe a proximal aspiration technique used during the treatment of intracranial VA and basilar artery (BA) atherosclerotic disease.
Methods Proximal embolic protection was utilized during the treatment of intracranial VA/BA stenosis with angioplasty and stenting in patients with medically refractory disease.
Results Five patients with severe symptomatic posterior circulation stenosis refractory to medical management were treated with angioplasty and stenting utilizing proximal aspiration. Pre- and post-treatment angiograms and MRIs were compared. Treated vascular stenoses were significantly improved, without new neurological deficits or ischemic injury identified on imaging. Ultrasound was utilized to confirm flow reversal during the aspiration portion of the procedure.
Conclusions The proposed technique of proximal embolic protection may help overcome the challenge of embolus propagation inherent to the treatment modality that was encountered during the treatment of intracranial VA/BA stenosis.
Disclosures S. Gesheva: None. L. Hastings: None. J. Wilson: None.
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