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AHA outlines strategies to reduce perioperative stroke risk

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A new American Heart Association Scientific Statement outlines way to reduce the risk of stroke in patients undergoing heart surgery. The statement was published in the journal Circulation.

Highlights of the statement include:

-Preventative measures, including monitoring blood flow to the brain, imaging of the aorta during surgery, controlling blood pressure, and monitoring blood loss;

-Early stroke diagnosis, including a neurologic exam and possible fast-track anesthesia protocol after surgery, having a stroke team in place, and conducting head and neck scans as soon as a stroke is suspected.

-Perioperative stroke treatment, including transferring patient to intensive care, improving oxygenation and perfusion of the brain, and treating clots.

“Cardiac surgery has come a long way in recent decades, and improvements in pre-operative screening and treatment now really make a difference between a patient suffering a disabling stroke or surviving and thriving with a good quality of life,” said Mario F.L. Gaudino, MD, chair of the writing group for the scientific statement, and a cardiac surgeon and professor of cardiothoracic surgery at New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, in a press release. “This statement provides an overview of the latest surgical protocols and techniques that can reduce stroke risk after heart surgery and improve patient survival and outcomes.”

Read the full press release here.

Gaudino M, Benesch C, Bakaeen F, et al. Considerations for Reduction of Risk of Perioperative Stroke in Adult Patients Undergoing Cardiac and Thoracic Aortic Operations: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2020; https://doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000885.