Current Management of Symptomatic Intracranial Stenosis
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- Taylor, R.A., Weigele, J.B. & Kasner, S.E. Curr Atheroscler Rep (2011) 13: 321. doi:10.1007/s11883-011-0183-2
Intracranial arterial stenosis (IAS) is the cause of about 10% of all ischemic strokes in the United States, but may account for about 40% of strokes in some populations. After a stroke or transient ischemic attack due to IAS, patients face a 12% annual risk of recurrent stroke on medical therapy, with most strokes occurring in the first year. Warfarin is no better than aspirin in preventing recurrent strokes but poses a higher risk of serious bleeding and death. Groups with the highest risk of recurrent stroke are those with high-grade (≥70%) stenosis, those with recent symptom onset, those with symptoms precipitated by hemodynamic maneuvers, and women. Endovascular treatment of IAS is a rapidly evolving therapeutic option. Antiplatelet agents are currently recommended as the primary treatment for symptomatic IAS, with endovascular therapy reserved for appropriate high-risk cases refractory to medical therapy.