The chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency syndrome

Author(s): Zamboni P, Galeotti R

Abstract

Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) is a syndrome characterized by stenosies of the internal jugular and/or azygous veins (IJVs-AZ) with opening of collaterals and insufficient drainage proved by reduced cerebral blood flow and increased mean transit time in cerebral MRI perfusional study. The present review is aimed to give a comprehensive overview of the actual status of the art of the diagnosis and treatment of this condition. As far as the origin of venous narrowing is concerned, phlebographic studies of the IJVs and AZ systems demonstrated that venous stenoses were likely to be truncular venous malformations; mostly, they are intraluminal defects such as malformed valve, septa webs. CCSVI condition has been found to be strongly associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), a disabling neurodegenerative and demyelinating disease considered autoimmune in nature. In several epidemiological observations performed at different latitudes on patients with different genetic backgrounds, the prevalence of CCSVI in MS ranges from 56% to 100%. To the contrary, by using venous MR and/or different Doppler protocols, CCSVI was not detected with the same prevalence. Two pilot studies demonstrated the safety and feasibility in Day Surgery of the endovascular treatment of CCSVI by means of balloon angioplasty (PTA). It determines a significant reduction of postoperative venous pressure. Restenosis rate was found out elevated in the IJVs, but negligible in the AZ. However, PTA seems to positively influence clinical and QoL parameters of the associated MS and warrants further randomized control trials.

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