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Endovascular treatment for symptomatic intracranial artery stenosis: protocol for a systematic review and network meta-analysis

10 Jul 2018


Atherosclerotic intracranial artery stenosis (ICAS) is one of most common causes of stroke, which is the second-leading cause of death worldwide. Medical, surgical and endovascular therapy are three major treatments for ICAS. Currently, medical therapy is considered as the standard of care for most patients with ICAS, while extracranial to intracranial bypass is only used in rare situations. Balloon angioplasty alone, balloon-mounted stent and self-expanding stent, collectively called endovascular treatment, have shown promising potentials in treating specific subgroups of patients with symptomatic ICAS; however, their comparative safety and efficacy is still unclear. Therefore, a systematic review with network meta-analysis is needed to establish a hierarchy of these endovascular treatments.

Methods and analysis

The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Protocols was followed to establish this protocol. The search will be limited to studies published from 1 January 2000 to the formal search date. Major databases including Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, conference proceedings and grey literature database will be searched for clinical studies comparing at least two interventions for patients with symptomatic ICAS. Primary outcomes include short-term and long-term mortality or stroke rate. Random effects pairwise and network meta-analyses of included studies will be performed on STATA (V.14, StataCorp, 2015). The surface under the cumulative ranking curve and mean rank will be calculated in order to establish a hierarchy of the endovascular treatments. Evaluation of the risk of bias, heterogeneity, consistency, transitivity and quality of evidence will follow the recommendations of the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.

Ethics and dissemination

Ethics approval is not needed as systematic review is based on published studies. Study findings will be presented at international conferences and published on a peer-reviewed journal.

PROSPERO registration number

CRD42018084055; Pre-results.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open

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