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Angiography-based hemodynamic features predict recurrent ischemic events after angioplasty and stenting of intracranial vertebrobasilar atherosclerotic stenosis.

European Radiology 2023 September 20
OBJECTIVES: To assess the predictive value of hemodynamic features for stroke relapse in patients with intracranial vertebrobasilar atherosclerotic stenosis treated with percutaneous transluminal angioplasty and stenting (PTAS) using quantitative digital subtraction angiography (q-DSA).

METHODS: In this retrospective longitudinal study, patients with intracranial vertebrobasilar atherosclerotic stenosis and who underwent PTAS treatment between January 2012 and May 2020 were enrolled. The q-DSA assessment was performed before and after PTAS. ROIs 1-4 were placed along the vertebral artery, proximal and distal basilar artery, and posterior cerebral artery; ROIs 5-8 were in 5 mm and 10 mm proximal and distal to the lesion, respectively. Relative time to peak (rTTP) was defined as the difference in TTP between ROIs. Cox regression analyses were performed to determine risk factors for recurrent stroke.

RESULTS: A total of 137 patients (mean age, 62 years ± 10 [standard deviation], 83.2% males) were included, and 26 (19.0%) patients had stroke relapse during follow-up (median time of 42.6 months [interquartile range, 19.7-60.7]). Preprocedural rTTP4-1 (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 2.270; 95% CI 1.371-3.758; p = 0.001) and preprocedural rTTP8-5 (adjusted HR = 0.240; 95% CI 0.088-0.658; p = 0.006) were independently associated with the recurrent stroke. These hemodynamic parameters provided an incremental prognostic value for stroke relapse (AUC, 0.817 [0.704-0.931]; the net reclassification index, 0.431 [0.057-0.625]; and the integrated discrimination index, 0.140 [0.035-0.292]).

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with intracranial vertebrobasilar atherosclerosis treated with PTAS, preprocedural prolonged TTP of the target vessel and shortened trans-stenotic TTP difference were associated with stroke relapse. Q-DSA-defined hemodynamic parameters provided incremental predictive value over conventional parameters for stroke recurrence.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE STATEMENT: Quantitative DSA analysis enables intuitive observation and semi-quantitative evaluation of peri-therapeutic cerebral blood flow. More importantly, quantitative DSA-defined hemodynamic parameters have the potential for risk stratification of patients with intracranial atherosclerotic stenosis.

KEY POINTS: Semi-quantitative angiography-based parameters can reflect pre- and postprocedural subtle changes in blood flow in patients with intracranial atherosclerotic stenosis. Although angioplasty procedures can significantly improve blood flow status, patients with more restricted baseline blood flow still show a higher risk of stroke recurrence. Angiography-based hemodynamic features possess prognostic value and can serve as clinical markers to assess stroke risk of patients with intracranial atherosclerotic stenosis.

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