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The “chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency” or “CCSVI” hypothesis, namely that multiple sclerosis (MS) is caused by abnormalities in the azygous and internal jugular veins with subsequent alterations in venous hemodynamics in the central nervous system, has been a dominant topic in MS care in Canada over the past year. Although there is no methodologically rigorous evidence to support this hypothesis presently, a considerable number of MS patients have undergone endovascular CCSVI procedures. Such procedures include angioplasty or stent placement in jugular and azygous veins. The safety and efficacy of these procedures is unknown, but not without risk.
Chart and patient review of five patients with confirmed MS followed in Calgary were undertaken after patients came to medical attention by referral or admission secondary to complications believed to be associated with CCSVI procedures.
Complications upon investigation and review included internal jugular vein stent thrombosis, cerebral sinovenous thrombosis, stent migration, cranial nerve injury and injury associated with venous catheterization.
As the debate about CCSVI and its relationship to MS continues, the complications and risks associated with venous stenting and angioplasty in jugular and azygous veins are becoming clearer. As increasing numbers of MS patients are seeking such procedures, these five cases represent the beginning of a wave of complications for which standardized care guidelines do not exist. Our experience and that of our colleagues will be used to develop guidelines and strategies to monitor and manage these patients as their numbers increase.
Current multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment is only partially effective and not all patients respond well. The goal in this study was to evaluate minocycline for its safety, tolerability, and MRI impact as a potential therapy over 36 months after a three month run-in in ten relapsing-remitting (RR) MS patients.
Clinical assessments were at three month intervals until six months, then at six month intervals. Three Tesla MRI was performed monthly during the run-in and first six months of treatment, then at 12, 24, and 36 months.
Treatment was safe and well tolerated. Annualized relapse rate was 1.2 during the run-in and 0.25 during treatment. The proportion of active scans was lower during the first six months of treatment (5.6%, p<0.001) and during the extension (8.7%, p= 0.002) than during the run-in (47.5%). Consistent with these outcomes, mean T2 lesion volume remained stable over three years and percent brain volume change was reduced during year three (-0.37%) of minocycline treatment.
This trial is limited by small sample and no control group but suggests that minocycline is safe and potentially beneficial in RRMS. This supports further investigation of its efficacy.
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