Intracranial Artery Stenosis
Intracranial artery stenosis is a narrowing of arteries inside the brain due to plaque buildup, or atherosclerosis.
Signs and Symptoms
Often, the first sign of intracranial artery stenosis is a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke. The symptoms of TIA and stroke are similar, typically sudden and include the following:
- Numbness, weakness or paralysis of the face, arms or legs, typically on one side of the body
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty seeing or loss of vision
- Difficulty walking or loss of balance
There are different treatment options depending on the severity of stenosis:
- Medication to reduce and/or control blood pressure and/or cholesterol.
- Lifestyle changes to slow the buildup of fatty deposits in the artery.
- Artery angioplasty and/or stenting These are treatments that are used to open the blood vessels to improve blood flow to the brain. During the procedure, a catheter is inserted into an artery in the groin or wrist and threaded through the body to the site of the carotid artery disease (usually in the neck).
- In an angioplasty procedure, a small balloon is threaded by a catheter to the area of the blockage. The balloon is then inflated for a couple of seconds, to widen the artery, which improves blood flow through the neck and into the brain. The balloon is then removed from the patient.
- In a stent procedure, a small metal tube is inserted into the artery to prevent the artery from narrowing again. The stent remains inside of the artery.