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Anesthesia practice for endovascular therapy of acute ischemic stroke in Europe

Rasmussen, Line K.a; Simonsen, Claus Z.b; Rasmussen, Madsa

Current Opinion in Anesthesiology: August 2019 - Volume 32 - Issue 4 - p 523–530
doi: 10.1097/ACO.0000000000000746

Purpose of review Anesthetic assistance is often required during endovascular therapy (EVT) of large vessel occlusion in patients with acute ischemic stroke. It is currently debated whether EVT should be performed under general anesthesia or conscious sedation. This review will summarize the recent literature with emphasis on the influence of anesthesia method on neurological outcome.

Recent findings Recent randomized trials have reported no difference in outcome after EVT performed under either conscious sedation or general anesthesia. This is in contrast to a substantial number of retrospective studies, which found that EVT performed under general anesthesia was associated with a worse neurologic outcome compared with conscious sedation. Anesthetic drugs affect vessel tone and the level of blood pressure may influence outcome. The most favorable choice of anesthetic agents and ventilatory strategy is still debated.

Summary The optimal anesthetic practice for EVT remains to be identified. Currently, conscious sedation is often an easy first-line strategy, but general anesthesia can be considered an equal and safe alternative to conscious sedation when there is a carefully administered anesthetic that maintains strict hemodynamic control. Attention to ventilation is advocated. The presence of a specialized neuroanesthesiologist or otherwise dedicated anesthesia personnel is highly recommended.

aSection of Neuroanesthesia, Department of Anesthesia

bDepartment of Neurology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark

Correspondence to Mads Rasmussen, Section of Neuroanesthesia, Department of Anesthesia, Aarhus University Hospital, Palle Juul-Jensens BVLD 99, 8200 Aarhus N, Denmark. Tel: +45 30566977; e-mail:

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