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Preliminary data from a series of multiple sclerosis patients who underwent percutaneous transluminal venoplasty to treat chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency suggest that the treatment was safe and offered significant disease-specific and quality of life improvements.
The results of the controversial treatment on 125 patients in the series will need to be validated with future randomized, blinded, controlled trials that evaluate endovascular and surgical options, Dr. Manish Mehta said at the Vascular Annual Meeting.
The 125 patients included in the study had a mean age of 47 years, and 62% were female. Relapsing-remitting MS accounted for 54% of the patients, followed by secondary-progressive MS in 34% and primary-progressive MS in 12%.
The patients had a total of 230 lesions (Note--in this context, "lesions" refers to jugular vein irregularities that create stenosis, not brain lesions) altogether, 90% of which involved the internal jugular veins; the majority of these were at the origin. The remaining 10% of patients had stenoses in their azygous veins.
The mean degree of occlusion was about 80%, with approximately 1.8 (stenotic jugular vein) lesions per patient. Immediate success (defined as less than 20% residual stenosis) occurred in 82%. The remaining patients underwent a second venoplasty without stenting.
In all, 79 patients were available for follow-up at a mean of 4.5 years. Restenosis of 50% occurred in eight of these patients, occlusions occurred in two patients, and one patient had new-onset atrial fibrillation.
The investigators reassessed 48 patients with the EDSS (Extended Disability Status Scale) following initial baseline testing. From before to after the procedure, "there was a statistical improvement. Improvements occurred in each of the MS types, except in primary progressive MS," Dr. Mehta said.
Reevaluations of 79 patients who performed a timed 25-foot walk at baseline showed a significant improvement in walking speed. In terms of MS quality of life, from before to after the procedure "there were significant improvements in physical and mental ability. There clearly seems to be a trend. In the modified fatigue impact score, there also seems to be a clear improvement," he said.
Dr. Mehta also said that there was a trend toward improvement in balance, lower-extremity weakness, incontinence, coordination, and vertigo in more than 80% of patients.