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Postgrad Med J 84:238-245 doi:10.1136/pgmj.2007.066167
  • Review

Stroke in pregnancy and the puerperium

  1. S D Treadwell1,
  2. B Thanvi2,
  3. T G Robinson3
  1. 1
    Department of Integrated Medicine, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, UK
  2. 2
    South Warwickshire Hospital, Warwick, UK
  3. 3
    Department of Medicine for the Elderly, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester General Hospital, Leicester, UK
  1. Dr S D Treadwell, Department of Integrated Medicine, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester LE1 5WW, UK; seantreadwell{at}hotmail.com
  • Received 15 November 2007
  • Accepted 18 March 2008

Abstract

Stroke is a recognised complication of pregnancy, contributing to more than 12% of all maternal deaths. Estimated incidence rates vary considerably from 4.3 to 210 strokes per 100 000 deliveries. Atherosclerosis is rare in young adults, and so other causes of stroke become increasingly likely. Aetiological factors important in pregnancy include hypercoagulability due to maternal physiological changes, pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, cerebral venous thrombosis, paradoxical embolism, postpartum cerebral angiopathy and peripartum cardiomyopathy. Management of patients with pregnancy-related stroke should generally proceed as for non-pregnant patients, although there are a number of important areas specific to pregnancy which will be considered here.

Footnotes

  • Competing interests: None declared.