Endovascular intervention for obstruction to venous drainage of the head and neck is an established treatment for disorders such as superior vena cava syndrome. Some patients with multiple sclerosis have been observed to have anomalies of the veins draining the head and neck. It is possible that some symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis may be secondary to disturbed venous flow. In an uncontrolled clinical series of 40 patients who had been previously diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, anomalies of the venous drainage of the head and neck were observed, including venous stenoses of the internal jugular veins. In 38 of 40 patients, venous stents were placed with restoration of luminal dimensions and abrogation of the venous pressure gradient. The angiographic and hemodynamic improvement was associated with improvement in symptomatology, most particularly in cognitive and constitutional symptoms that may be related to cerebrovenous flow. Serious complications included death in one subject and stent embolization requiring open heart surgery in another. In conclusion, in this series, endovascular intervention to correct venous stenosis associated with multiple sclerosis was associated with improvement in symptoms possibly related to disturbed venous hemodynamics. However, given the serious adverse events in this small series, a randomized clinical trial is required to confirm these findings, and to determine if the procedure has any effect on the progression of multiple sclerosis, or untoward long-term adverse effects.
- internal jugular vein
- superior vena cava syndrome
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine