Time elapsed after ischemic stroke and risk of adverse cardiovascular events and mortality following elective noncardiac surgery

JAMA. 2014 Jul 16;312(3):269-77. doi: 10.1001/jama.2014.8165.


Importance: The timing of surgery in patients with recent ischemic stroke is an important and inadequately addressed issue.

Objective: To assess the safety and importance of time elapsed between stroke and surgery in the risk of perioperative cardiovascular events and mortality.

Design, setting, and participants: Danish nationwide cohort study (2005-2011) including all patients aged 20 years or older undergoing elective noncardiac surgeries (n=481,183 surgeries).

Exposures: Time elapsed between stroke and surgery in categories and as a continuous measure.

Main outcomes and measures: Risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE; including ischemic stroke, acute myocardial infarction, and cardiovascular mortality) and all-cause mortality up to 30 days after surgery. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by multivariable logistic regression models.

Results: Crude incidence rates of MACE among patients with (n = 7137) and without (n = 474,046) prior stroke were 54.4 (95% CI, 49.1-59.9) vs 4.1 (95% CI, 3.9-4.2) per 1000 patients. Compared with patients without stroke, ORs for MACE were 14.23 (95% CI, 11.61-17.45) for stroke less than 3 months prior to surgery, 4.85 (95% CI, 3.32-7.08) for stroke 3 to less than 6 months prior, 3.04 (95% CI, 2.13-4.34) for stroke 6 to less than 12 months prior, and 2.47 (95% CI, 2.07-2.95) for stroke 12 months or more prior. MACE risks were at least as high for low-risk (OR, 9.96; 95% CI, 5.49-18.07 for stroke <3 months) and intermediate-risk (OR, 17.12; 95% CI, 13.68-21.42 for stroke <3 months) surgery compared with high-risk surgery (OR, 2.97; 95% CI, 0.98-9.01 for stroke <3 months) (P = .003 for interaction). Similar patterns were found for 30-day mortality: ORs were 3.07 (95% CI, 2.30-4.09) for stroke less than 3 months prior, 1.97 (95% CI, 1.22-3.19) for stroke 3 to less than 6 months prior, 1.45 (95% CI, 0.95-2.20) for stroke 6 to less than 12 months prior, and 1.46 (95% CI, 1.21-1.77) for stroke 12 months or more prior to surgery compared with patients without stroke. Cubic regression splines performed on the stroke subgroup supported that risk leveled off after 9 months.

Conclusions and relevance: A history of stroke was associated with adverse outcomes following surgery, in particular if time between stroke and surgery was less than 9 months. After 9 months, the associated risk appeared stable yet still increased compared with patients with no stroke. The time dependency of risk may warrant attention in future guidelines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Ischemia / complications
  • Brain Ischemia / mortality*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Elective Surgical Procedures / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality
  • Risk
  • Stroke
  • Time Factors