We retrospectively reviewed the influence of preoperative blood pressure control and regional vs. general anesthetic techniques on the incidence of intraoperative and postoperative (recovery room and intensive care unit) hypotension and hypertension in 249 carotid endarterectomy patients. Preoperative blood pressure was classified as uncontrolled hypertension (systolic blood pressure >/= 170 mm Hg and/or diastolic blood pressure >/= 95 mm Hg), controlled hypertension (blood pressure <170/95 mm Hg on chronic antihypertensive therapy), or normotension (blood pressure <170/95 mm Hg without antihypertensive therapy). Hypotension, as defined by the requirement for vasopressor administration to maintain a systolic blood pressure of at least 120 mm Hg, occurred more frequently after regional than after general anesthesia (p < 0.05). Postoperative hypertension was defined as a systolic blood pressure >/= 200 mm Hg and/or a diastolic blood pressure >/= 110 mm Hg in the recovery room or in the Intensive Care Unit. Preoperative hypertension was not associated with acute postoperative hypertension in the intensive care unit in either the regional anesthesia (n = 190) or the general anesthesia (n = 59) groups, although with either type of anesthesia, preoperative hypertension was associated with an increased incidence of hypertension in the recovery room (p < 0.01 regional; p < 0.005 general).