Perioperative ischemic stroke in non-cardiovascular surgery patients

J Anesth. 2010 Oct;24(5):733-8. doi: 10.1007/s00540-010-0969-3. Epub 2010 Jun 15.


Perioperative ischemic stroke occurs in approximately 0.08-0.7% of patients after non-cardiovascular surgery and confers a significant risk of morbidity and mortality. The mortality rate of this major complication is similar in non-cardiovascular and cardiovascular surgery. Its incidence appears to be similar in Japan, Europe, and the United States. Perioperative physicians should be aware of the pathophysiology and predictors of ischemic stroke, and the anti-thrombotic strategies to prevent it. The main causes of perioperative ischemic stroke include cerebral atherothrombosis; lacuna stroke; cardiac thrombi due to atrial fibrillation; dehydration; hypotension; and perioperative systemic hypercoagulability. Perioperative management includes detailed informed consent regarding potential stroke risks, counseling, careful surgical treatment decisions, and identification of the high-risk patient for perioperative antithrombotic strategies. The 2009 Japanese guidelines for the management of stroke recommend using the appropriate intravenous infusions to avoid dehydration and consideration of anticoagulation in the patients who are at high risk for thrombosis and embolism while antithrombotic agents are discontinued. Understanding how to prevent perioperative ischemic stroke remains a challenge. In this article, we review the incidence, timing of the occurrence, mortality, risk factors, and pathophysiology of perioperative ischemic stroke in the non-cardiovascular surgery patient.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Coagulation / physiology
  • Brain Ischemia / etiology
  • Brain Ischemia / mortality
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications / mortality
  • Intraoperative Complications / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Perioperative Care
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Stroke / mortality
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative* / mortality
  • Young Adult