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Anesthesiology. 2011 Oct;115(4):879-90. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e31822e9499.

Perioperative stroke in noncardiac, nonneurosurgical surgery.

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Department of Anesthesia & Perioperative Care, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.


Perioperative stroke after noncardiac, nonneurosurgical procedures is more common than generally acknowledged. It is reported to have an incidence of 0.05-7% of patients. Most are thrombotic in origin and are noted after discharge from the postanesthetic care unit. Common predisposing factors include age, a previous stroke, atrial fibrillation, and vascular and metabolic diseases. The mortality is more than two times greater than in strokes occurring outside the hospital. Delayed diagnosis and a synergistic interaction between the inflammatory changes normally associated with stroke, and those normally occurring after surgery, may explain this increase. Intraoperative hypotension is an infrequent direct cause of stroke. Hypotension will augment the injury produced by embolism or other causes, and this may be especially important in the postoperative period, during which monitoring is not nearly as attentive as in the operating room. Increased awareness and management of predisposing risk factors with early detection should result in improved outcomes.

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