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Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.
Atherosclerotic disease often involves the intracranial arteries including those encased by cranial bones and dura, and those located in the subarachnoid space. Age, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus are independent risk factors for intracranial atherosclerosis. Intracranial atherosclerosis can result in thromboembolism with or without hypoperfusion leading to transient or permanent cerebral ischaemic events. High rates of recurrent ischaemic stroke and other cardiovascular events mandate early diagnosis and treatment. Present treatment is based on a combination of antiplatelet drugs, optimisation of blood pressure and LDL cholesterol values, and intracranial angioplasty or stent placement, or both, in selected patients.