During an 8-year period ending in 1988, 173 consecutive patients with a history of previous cerebrovascular accident underwent general anesthesia for surgery. Five patients (2.9%) had documented postoperative cerebrovascular accidents from 3 to 21 days (mean, 12.2 days) after surgery. The risk of postoperative cerebrovascular accident did not correlate with age, sex, history of multiple cerebrovascular accidents, poststroke transient ischemic attacks, American Society for Anesthesia physical status, aspirin use, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, intraoperative blood pressure, time since previous cerebrovascular accident, or cause of previous cerebrovascular accident. Postoperative stroke was more common in patients given preoperative heparin sodium. We conclude that the risk of perioperative stroke is low (2.9%) but not easily predicted and that the risk continues beyond the first week of convalescence. Unlike myocardial infarction, cerebral reinfarction risk does not seem to depend on time since previous infarct.