General Anesthesia and Mortality in Stroke Patients

New study finds a possible link between the two 


A new study makes a link between general anesthesia and patients suffering from acute ischemic stroke.

Researchers have conducted a new study that suggests patients with acute ischemic stroke undergoing endovascular intervention therapy who received general anesthesia experienced greater mortality than patients who underwent some form of conscious sedation. However, it remains uncertain whether this difference is attributed to the type of anesthesia a patient received.

In previous studies, reports showed that general anesthesia resulted in favorable clinical and radiographic outcomes when compared to local anesthesia. More recent retrospective studies have shown that general anesthesia might actually worsen neurologic outcomes and increase mortality in patients suffering from acute ischemic stroke.

Several factors play a role in determining whether a direct link is existent in these types of patients. Hilary P. Grocott, MD, professor of anesthesia and surgery at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, referred to the recent studies as “interesting” but said they suffer from limitations common in most retrospective studies.

“Unaccounted-for confounders are always a concern with studies with relatively low patient numbers. Specifically, those patients requiring general anesthesia may have had a poorer preoperative neurologic condition that itself may have led to the higher mortality rate. Alternatively, general anesthesia may have had an impact on blood pressure, with inadequately treated hypotension resulting in worse neurologic outcome—and subsequent death—in some patients. These results warrant further study as to the factors that led to the higher mortality signal with general anesthesia.”

To learn more about the newest study on general anesthesia, click here.


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