By Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, February 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) – For decades, stents to open arteries have helped prevent heart attacks, and new research suggests that they could also help prevent strokes.
In a new study, the self-expanding intracranial Wingspan brain stent seems effective in the long term to reduce the risk of stroke patients from a subsequent stroke and death.
Intracranial stents are small mesh tubes that are permanently implanted to open clogged cerebral arteries and improve blood flow to the brain.
The new study analyzed data from the medical record of recurrent stroke or death in more than 150 stroke survivors who had received a Wingspan brain stent.
The stent seemed to cut the risks in half, said the elected president of the American Heart Association (AHA), Dr. Mitchell Elkind.
"After a year, there was a low risk of recurrent stroke or death in these patients compared to what we would historically expect," said Elkind. "Then, approximately 9% of the patients had a recurring event, compared to what we would expect to be closer to approximately 20%."
He stressed that this study was not a randomized "gold standard" clinical trial. Still, "this is promising, and suggests that for some patients, the benefits of the stent may be better than we would expect if we treat them. [in the traditional way]", according to Elkind, who is also a professor of neurology and epidemiology at Columbia University in New York City.
An earlier study found a stroke and mortality rate of 2.6% in the first days after patients received the Wingspan stent, but this new study looked at the results in the longer term.
The new research was based on a database used in the previous short-term study and was led by Dr. Michael Alexander, professor and vice president of neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
The study monitored the results of 152 patients with narrow arteries (atherosclerosis) treated in 16 EE centers. UU. All were treated with the Wingspan stent, following the guidelines of the United States Food and Drug Administration for use.
The study was presented Thursday at the International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles.
The results presented in medical meetings are generally considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.
However, "this is the largest intracranial stent trial for atherosclerotic disease performed according to the FDA's indication for the Wingspan stent," Alexander said in an association press release.
The results "are important in determining whether safer stent placement practices and lower complication rates of the treatment itself resulted in better results for patients a year," he said. According to Alexander, "the intracranial stent could provide an alternative when [drug] therapy and other treatments have not been successful. "
According to the president of the AHA, Elkind, the new findings could also "lead to future trials using [the] Large stent or maybe other stents. Technology is likely to continue to evolve. "
However, he emphasized that the patients in the new study were "highly selected", so it is too early to say if a "larger group of patients" would get the same benefit.
Dr. Andrew Rogove directs stroke services at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, New York. Reading about the new findings, he agreed that more studies are needed but, "if it is safe and effective, the use of intracranial stents could reduce the rate of stroke in patients with severe atherosclerosis within the arteries in the brain."