Anesthesia-Related Outcomes for Endovascular Stroke Revascularization: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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Background and Purpose—

There is currently controversy on the ideal anesthesia strategy during mechanical thrombectomy for acute ischemic stroke. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies comparing clinical and angiographic outcomes of patients undergoing general anesthesia (GA group) and those receiving either local anesthesia or conscious sedation (non-GA group).


A literature search on anesthesia and endovascular treatment of acute ischemic stroke was performed. Using random-effects meta-analysis, we evaluated the following outcomes: recanalization rate, good functional outcome at 90 days (modified Rankin Score≤2), symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage, death, vascular complications, respiratory complications, procedure time, and time to groin puncture.


Twenty-two studies (3 randomized controlled trials and 19 observational studies), including 4716 patients (1819 GA and 2897 non-GA) were included. In the nonadjusted analysis, patients in the GA group had higher odds of death (odds ratio [OR], 2.02; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.66–2.45) and respiratory complications (OR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.22–2.37) and lower odds of good functional outcome (OR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.48–0.64) compared with the non-GA group. There was no difference in procedure time between the 2 primary comparison groups. When adjusting for baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, GA was still associated with lower odds of good functional outcome (OR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.29–0.94). When considering studies performed in the stent-retriever/aspiration era, there was no significant difference in good neurological outcome rates (OR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.67–1.06).


Acute ischemic stroke patients undergoing intra-arterial therapy may have worse outcomes when treated with GA as compared with conscious sedation/local anesthesia. However, major limitations of current evidence (ie, retrospective studies and selection bias) indicate a need for adequately powered, multicenter randomized controlled trials to answer this question.

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