The optimal patient sedation during mechanical thrombectomy for ischemic stroke in the extended time window is unknown. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of patient sedation on outcome in patients undergoing thrombectomy 6-16 hours from stroke onset.Endovascular Therapy Following Imaging Evaluation for Ischemic Stroke 3 (DEFUSE 3) was a multicenter, randomized, open-label trial of thrombectomy for ICA and M1 occlusions in patients 6-16 hours from stroke onset. Subjects underwent thrombectomy with either general anesthesia or conscious sedation at the discretion of the treating institution.Of the 92 patients who were randomized to intervention, 26 (28%) underwent thrombectomy with general anesthesia and 66 (72%) underwent thrombectomy with conscious sedation. Baseline clinical and imaging characteristics were similar among all groups. Functional independence at 90 days was 23% for general anesthesia, 53% for conscious sedation, and 17% for medical management (P = .009 for general anesthesia versus conscious sedation). Conscious sedation was associated with a shorter time from arrival in the angiosuite to femoral puncture (median, 14 versus 18 minutes; P = 0.05) and a shorter time from femoral puncture to reperfusion (median, 36 versus 48 minutes; P = .004). Sixty-six patients were treated at sites that exclusively used general anesthesia (n = 14) or conscious sedation (n = 52). For these patients, functional independence at 90 days was significantly higher in the conscious sedation subgroup (58%) compared with the general anesthesia subgroup (21%) (P = .03).Patients who underwent thrombectomy with conscious sedation in the extended time window experienced a higher likelihood of functional independence at 90 days, a lower NIHSS score at 24 hours, and a shorter time from femoral puncture to reperfusion compared with those who had general anesthesia. This effect remained robust in institutions that only treated patients with a single anesthesia technique.
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