Perianesthetic complications in dogs undergoing magnetic resonance imaging of the brain for suspected intracranial disease

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Hicks JA, Kennedy MJ, Patterson EE. 

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 2013;243:1310-1315.

Objective-To evaluate the occurrence of perianesthetic complications in dogs undergoing MRI for suspected intracranial disease and identify risk factors associated with observed complications. Design-Retrospective case-control study. Animals-238 client-owned dogs undergoing MRI of the brain. Procedures-Signalment, clinical signs, neurologic examination findings, presumptive diagnosis, anesthesia-related variables, whether CSF was collected and CSF analysis results, severe perianesthetic complications (need for a ventilator following anesthesia or perianesthetic death), and anesthetic recovery time were recorded. Selected factors were compared between dogs with and without intracranial lesions and dogs with and without perianesthetic complications (including severe complications and prolonged anesthetic recovery [> 20 minutes from the end of anesthesia to extubation]). Results-3 of 149 (2%) dogs with and 0 of 89 dogs without intracranial lesions required ventilation following anesthesia; the difference was nonsignificant. Recovery time was significantly longer in dogs with (median, 15 minutes) than in dogs without (10 minutes) intracranial lesions. Abnormal mentation prior to anesthesia was the only clinical sign that differed significantly between dogs with (15/26 [58%]) and without (70/212 [33%]) perianesthetic complications. A significantly larger proportion of dogs with perianesthetic complications had intracranial masses (13/26 [50%]), compared with dogs without these complications (56/212 [26%]). Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Dogs with complications were more likely to have had intracranial lesions than were dogs without complications, but few dogs had severe complications. Abnormal mentation was more common in dogs with than in dogs without complications. Prospective studies to further evaluate perianesthetic risk factors and procedures for improving outcomes in these patients are warranted.