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Utilization of self-expanding stents in the treatment of intracranial atherosclerotic disease in the distal small cerebral vessels

  • Interventional Neuroradiology
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Previously, endovascular treatment of stenosis related to intracranial atherosclerosis (ICAD) involving arteries measuring less than 2 mm in diameter was limited. To our knowledge, there are no reports in the literature addressing stent placement for treatment of stenosis in arteries of this size.


Four patients aged 33 to 80 years (mean 57.5 years) with medically refractory ICAD underwent angioplasty and stenting of small (<2 mm) distal intracerebral arteries. Vessel location and length of follow-up were anterior cerebral artery (ACA) A1 segment (5 months), ACA A2 segment (18 months), middle cerebral artery M1 segment (18 months), and posterior cerebral artery P1 segment (8 months) with vessel calibers ranging from 1.2 to 1.8 mm. Clinical and imaging follow-up ranged from 5 to 18 months.


All procedures were successfully performed without complications. Follow-up out to 18 months demonstrated one vessel that went on to occlusion while the other stented vessel segments remained patent. One patient died 8 months after stenting, but the death was not related to neurological disease. The remaining patients experienced resolution of the presenting symptomatology and remained asymptomatic throughout follow-up.


In this small series, stenoses of distal (<2 mm) cerebral arteries were amenable to treatment using new self-expanding stents. We safely and successfully treated four arteries smaller than 2 mm in diameter with newer self-expanding stents. All patients remained clinically asymptomatic. One stent occluded at 5 months and the others remained patent during follow-up. Longer term clinical follow-up is required to determine the durability and viability of this therapy.

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Conflict of interest statement

Dr. Turk is a consultant to and has research sponsored by Boston Scientific Corporation. Dr. Levine is a consultant to Boston Scientific Corporation, Sanofi-Aventis, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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Correspondence to Aquilla S. Turk.

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Turk, A.S., Ahmed, A., Niemann, D.B. et al. Utilization of self-expanding stents in the treatment of intracranial atherosclerotic disease in the distal small cerebral vessels. Neuroradiology 49, 659–663 (2007).

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