HDCN Article Review/Hyperlink

Kittner SJ, Stern BJ, Feeser BR, Hebel R, Nagey DA, et al

Pregnancy and the risk of stroke

N Engl J Med (Sep) 335:768-774 1996

Kittner et al show that ischemic stroke risk is unchanged during pregnancy, but rises sharply during the post-partum period. The risk for hemorrhagic stroke is increased during pregnancy, and increased yet again to a much greater extent during the post-partum period. There was no obvious explanation for the increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke in the post-partum period. Pre-eclampsia or eclampsia were found in only 14% of those women with hemorrhagic stroke. Changes in blood volume post-partum or hormonal changes are proposed. There was no obvious way to detect susceptible patients, even in retrospect. In fact, the stroke patients were younger, less likely to have hypertension, and less likely to be current cigarette smokers! The clinical implications are to have a high index of suspicion of both ischemic stroke or hemorrhagic stroke in any post-partum patient with suggestive symptoms. (John T. Daugirdas, M.D., University of Illinois at Chicago)

The abstract of this paper is available from the National Library of Medicine's PubMed site: click here .