Surgical treatment of patients with symptomatic vertebrobasilar insufficiency

Boulous Toursarkissian, Brian G. Rubin, Jeffrey M. Reilly, Robert W. Thompson, Brent T. Allen, Gregorio A. Sicard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We report our experience with surgical management of symptomatic vertebrobasilar insufficiency (VBI). Forty revascularizations were carried out in 39 patients over 90 months. Dizziness (52%) and syncope/presyncope (32%) were the most common symptoms. Arteriography was performed in all patients, with subclavian steal seen in 55% of patients. Procedures performed included 22 cases of carotid-subclavian bypass or transposition (55%), seven direct vertebral reconstructions (17.5%), four great vessel reconstructions (10%), four isolated carotid endarterectomies (10%), and three axilloaxillary bypasses (7.5%). One patient died, and the combined morbidity and mortality rate was 15%. Outpatient follow-up was available on 37 of the 38 patients discharged alive. At a mean follow-up of 16.4 months, 34 patients had no VBI complaints. Three of four patients treated with CEA alone had persistent VBI complaints. We conclude that a variety of anatomic lesions can result in VBI symptoms, with subclavian steal being the most common. Procedures which directly correct the anatomic abnormality result in sustained symptom resolution with acceptable complication rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-33
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998


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