Management of Acute Ischemic Stroke-Specific Focus on Anesthetic Management for Mechanical Thrombectomy

Jerrad Businger, Alexander C. Fort, Phillip E. Vlisides, Miguel Cobas, Ozan Akca

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Acute ischemic stroke is a neurological emergency with a high likelihood of morbidity, mortality, and long-term disability. Modern stroke care involves multidisciplinary management by neurologists, radiologists, neurosurgeons, and anesthesiologists. Current American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) guidelines recommend thrombolytic therapy with intravenous (IV) alteplase within the first 3-4.5 hours of initial stroke symptoms and endovascular mechanical thrombectomy within the first 16-24 hours depending on specific inclusion criteria. The anesthesia and critical care provider may become involved for airway management due to worsening neurologic status or to enable computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning, to facilitate mechanical thrombectomy, or to manage critical care of stroke patients. Existing data are unclear whether the mechanical thrombectomy procedure is best performed under general anesthesia or sedation. Retrospective cohort trials favor sedation over general anesthesia, but recent randomized controlled trials (RCT) neither suggest superiority nor inferiority of sedation over general anesthesia. Regardless of anesthesia type, a critical element of intraprocedural stroke care is tight blood pressure management. At different phases of stroke care, different blood pressure targets are recommended. This narrative review will focus on the anesthesia and critical care providers' roles in the management of both perioperative stroke and acute ischemic stroke with a focus on anesthetic management for mechanical thrombectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1124-1134
Number of pages11
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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