For decades, artery-opening stents have helped prevent heart attacks. Research suggests they might also help prevent strokes in the brain.
Intracranial stents are tiny mesh tubes that are permanently implanted to open clogged brain arteries and improve blood flow to the brain. One study tracked outcomes for 152 patients with narrowed arteries (atherosclerosis) treated at 16 U.S. hospitals. All were treated with an intracranial stent, following U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines for its use. The stent appeared to cut risks in half.
“This is the largest intracranial stent trial for atherosclerotic disease performed according to the FDA indication for the Wingspan stent,” said Dr. Michael Alexander, professor and vice chairman of neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
The results “are important to determine if safer stenting practices and lower complication rates from the treatment itself resulted in improved patient outcomes at one year.
Intracranial stenting could provide an alternative when [drug] therapy and other treatments have been unsuccessful.
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