Venoplasty is a procedure that involves inserting an inflatable balloon to widen your veins and improve blood flow. It is also known as percutaneous, or balloon, venoplasty. Sometimes a tiny tube (stent) is inserted in the vein to keep the vein open.
Percutaneous venoplasty has been proposed as a treatment for symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) based on a theory about the role of vein abnormalities in the disease.
Although the underlying cause of MS is unknown, some researchers have proposed that there is a link between MS symptoms and narrowed veins or vein blockages in the head and neck that alter blood flow or drainage from the brain, a condition known as chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI).
However, recent studies have found that CCSVI is not exclusive to people who have MS and that healthy people and those with other neurologic diseases can also have the same vein abnormalities, indicating that they are not likely related to MS symptoms.
So far, studies of venoplasty for MS treatment have had many limitations, including not being randomized, placebo-controlled or blinded, and have not demonstrated any objective benefits on MS.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns of the risks, including stroke and death, involved with this experimental procedure.
Currently, there are no well-designed, quality studies to support the safety and effectiveness of venoplasty for treatment of MS symptoms.
May 06, 2014
- Zamboni P, et al. Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency in patients with multiple sclerosis. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychology. 2009; 80:392.
- van Zuuren EJ, et al. Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty for treatment of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency in people with multiple sclerosis: A summary of a Cochrane systematic review. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. 2014:85:405.
- Comi G, et al. Observational case-control study of the prevalence of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency in multiple sclerosis: Results from the CoSMo study. Multiple Sclerosis Journal. 2013;19:1508.
- Traboulsee AL, et al. Prevalence of extracranial venous narrowing on catheter venography in people with multiple sclerosis, their siblings, and unrelated healthy controls: A blinded, case-control study. The Lancet. 2014;383:138.
- FDA issues alert on potential dangers of unproven treatment for multiple sclerosis. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm303538.htm. Accessed April 18, 2014.