Medical and endovascular treatments of symptomatic intracranial stenosis. A Bayesian network meta-analysis.


Department of Neurology & Stroke Unit, Sant'Anna Hospital, Como, Italy. Electronic address: [Email]


Intracranial stenosis is a well-established stroke risk factor with an increase of stroke recurrence or TIA up to 12.6% at 1 year. Treatments are different: medical and endovascular. We performed a multiple treatment comparison analysis to detect the best treatment in reducing the risk of stroke recurrence. We searched in Medline, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases between 1979 and October 2017. Inclusion criteria were prospective randomized trials that evaluated patients with TIA or stroke due to intracranial stenosis and treated with different medical therapies and/or endovascular procedures. Primary endpoint was the recurrence of TIA or stroke in the territory of intracranial stenosis, while secondary endpoint was represented by any stroke or vascular death. Multiple treatment comparison meta-analysis based on a Bayesian fixed and random effects Poisson model was performed. Seven trials were included with a total of 1337 patients. At multiple treatment comparison, no significant differences between treatments were observed for both primary (median fixed effect standard OR: 0.40; 95%CI: 0.02-1.07) and secondary endpoints (median random effect standard OR: 1.17; 95%CI: 0.32-1.92). Treatment with aspirin alone ranked with high values both for primary and secondary endpoints (surface under the cumulative ranking curve of 70% and 82%, respectively). In patients with symptomatic intracranial stenosis, no differences between treatments were observed. However, aspirin alone was more effective than stenting in the reduction of TIA or stroke recurrences, with a better safety profile than oral anticoagulants.


Network meta-analysis,Symptomatic intracranial stenosis,Treatment,

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