Low Blood Pressure During Surgery Boosts Stroke Risk

Tighter control of levels may prevent complications, study suggests

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SATURDAY, Oct. 18, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- People face a higher risk of stroke after surgery if they have low blood pressure during their operation, a new report shows.

The finding, to be presented Saturday at the American Society of Anesthesiologists annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., looked at 30,000 patients undergoing surgery in a six-year period. It focused on procedures being done on patients who did not already have conditions with a known risk for post-surgical stroke development.

"While these findings are of clinical importance because blood pressure is a controllable factor, the results should be interpreted with extreme caution due to the small numbers of stroke patients and the complex interaction of patient and surgical factors on the risk of stroke following surgery," Dr. Cor J. Kalkman, of University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands, said in a news release issued by the society. "Especially for sick or elderly patients who may be less tolerant to low blood pressure levels, the results indicate that tight blood pressure control and monitoring may be the next step to prevent excess strokes."

While only 41 patients experienced a stroke within 10 days after surgery, the trend was found even after taking into account factors such as age, gender, history of diabetes, hypertension and previous stroke.

More information

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about strokes.

SOURCE: American Society of Anesthesiologists, news release, Oct. 18, 2008


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