Although basilar artery stenosis (BAS) is an important cause of posterior circulation stroke, few reports detail the clinical and neuroradiological features of patients with BAS.A retrospective review of symptomatic BAS patients who were evaluated by our Stroke Center.Twenty-eight patients were followed-up for a median of 16 months. Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) specific for posterior circulation involvement were common (12/19 patients with TIA), were often multiple, and frequently preceded a posterior circulation stroke. The proximal (13/28) and mid (10/28) basilar arteries were the most common sites of stenosis. Brain infarction most often affected the pons, but also frequently involved the cerebellum and thalamus. Concomitant vertebral artery disease was prevalent (12/18 patients who underwent conventional cerebral angiography). Stroke mechanisms included artery to artery embolus, basilar branch disease, and hypoperfusion. The same-territory recurrent stroke rate was 8.2% per year. Most patients in the series were treated with warfarin. No patients suffered a recurrent stroke while on a therapeutic dose of warfarin (international normalized ratio [INR], 2.0 to 3.0). Angioplasty was performed in 6 patients.The same-territory stroke recurrence rate was 8.2% per year. Warfarin (INR, 2.0 to 3.0) appeared to be effective in preventing recurrent strokes. Angioplasty of the basilar artery was technically feasible. Symptomatic BAS typically affected the proximal and mid-basilar artery and most often caused infarction in the pons. The mechanisms for stroke were heterogeneous. TIAs frequently preceded a posterior circulation stroke.
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