Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Intracranial atherosclerotic disease accounts for 8%-10% of ischemic stroke in the United States. So far, surgical bypass has not proved to be superior to medical therapy. As both medical and endovascular therapies for intracranial atherosclerosis evolve, so too do the guidelines for treatment. Initial reports on the results of stent placement for symptomatic high-grade intracranial atherosclerotic disease were encouraging; however, recent trials suggest that initial medical management may be preferable. Currently, intracranial angioplasty and stenting for symptomatic intracranial atherosclerosis is now more controversial. Further trials are necessary to help determine which patients are ideal for endovascular therapies.
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