Inclusion Criteria- An angiographically verified ≥ 70% stenosis of a major intracranial artery that causes TIA or minor stroke (NIH Stroke Scale score <9) within 90 days;
- the lesion length <15 mm and normal arterial diameter adjacent to it between 2.0 mm and 4.5 mm;
- patients having at least one atherosclerotic risk factor (arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, hyperhomocysteinemia and cigarette smoking).
Exclusion Criteria- Non-atherosclerotic stenosis;
- intracranial hemorrhage in the territory of the stenotic artery within 6 weeks; potential source of cardiac embolism;
- concurrent intracranial tumor, aneurysm and cerebral arteriovenous malformation;
- tandem >50% stenosis of extracranial carotid or vertebral artery; known contraindication to heparin, aspirin, clopidogrel, anesthesia and contrast media; hemoglobin <10 g/dl, platelet count <100,000;
- international normalized ratio >1.5 (irreversible) and uncorrectable bleeding diathesis; and life expectancy <1 years because of other medical conditions.