Context: Perinatal arterial ischemic stroke (PAS) is a common cause of hemiplegic cerebral palsy. Risk factors for this condition have not been clearly defined.
Objective: To determine maternal and infant characteristics associated with PAS.
Design, setting, and patients: Case-control study nested within the cohort of all 199,176 infants born from 1997 through 2002 in the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, a managed care organization providing care for more than 3 million residents of northern California. Case patients were confirmed by review of brain imaging and medical records (n = 40). Three controls per case were randomly selected from the study population.
Main outcome measure: Association of maternal and infant complications with risk of PAS.
Results: The population prevalence of PAS was 20 per 100,000 live births. The majority (85%) of infants with PAS were delivered at term. The following prepartum and intrapartum factors were more common among case than control infants: primiparity (73% vs 44%, P = .002), fetal heart rate abnormality (46% vs 14%, P<.001), emergency cesarean delivery (35% vs 13%, P = .002), chorioamnionitis (27% vs 11%, P = .03), prolonged rupture of membranes (26% vs 7%, P = .002), prolonged second stage of labor (25% vs 4%, P<.001), vacuum extraction (24% vs 11%, P = .04), cord abnormality (22% vs 6%, P = .01), preeclampsia (19% vs 5%, P = .01), and oligohydramnios (14% vs 3%, P = .01). Risk factors independently associated with PAS on multivariate analysis were history of infertility (odds ratio [OR], 7.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3-45.0), preeclampsia (OR, 5.3; 95% CI, 1.3-22.0), prolonged rupture of membranes (OR, 3.8; 95% CI, 1.1-12.8), and chorioamnionitis (OR, 3.4; 95% CI, 1.1-10.5). The rate of PAS increased dramatically when multiple risk factors were present.
Conclusions: Perinatal arterial ischemic stroke in infants is associated with several independent maternal risk factors. How these complications, along with their potential effects on the placenta and fetus, may play a role in causing perinatal stroke deserves further study.