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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2010 Sep;31(8):1533-5. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A2091. Epub 2010 Apr 15.

Is mechanical embolectomy performed in nonanesthetized patients effective?

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Saint Luke's Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri, USA.



In centers performing endovascular treatment for patients with AIS, there is variability in placing patients under general anesthesia. Nonanesthetized patients might move during the procedure leading to complications and prolonging the time to revascularization due to lack of cooperation. However, general anesthesia can lead to a delay of the procedure, an inability to assess the patient during the procedure, and fluctuations of blood pressure. Our center does not routinely either use general anesthesia or sedate patients. We report our experience with nonanesthetized patients undergoing emergent mechanical embolectomy.


We performed a retrospective analysis of 66 consecutive patients enrolled in the MERCI Registry at our center from June 2007 to June 2009. A univariate statistical analysis was performed by using the Fisher exact test for categoric variables and the Student t test for continuous variables in comparing use of general anesthesia with nonanesthetized patient demographics, procedural times, procedural complications, good outcome, and mortality.


Nine patients (13.6%) were placed under general anesthesia, and 57 (86.4%) were awake. Higher baseline NIHSS scores and older age were statistically associated with general anesthesia. No significant difference occurred between groups in the time to groin puncture or procedural times. Revascularization rates were 77% for general anesthesia patients and 70% for nonanesthetized patients (P = .331). The nonanesthetized group had better outcomes, but we did not control these outcomes for other factors. Complications were much more frequent in the general anesthesia patients (22%) than in the nonanesthetized patients (3.5%) (P = .0288).


Performing mechanical embolectomy in nonanesthetized patients at our institution does not prolong procedure time, decrease revascularization rates, increase complication rates, or decrease good outcome. Mechanical embolectomy in nonanesthetized patients is effective and should be considered an option in the treatment of the patient with AIS.

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