Prenatal stroke

Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2009 Oct;14(5):250-66. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2009.07.008. Epub 2009 Aug 6.


The main focus of this chapter is the comprehensive description of the neuropathology, the imaging correlates and underlying mechanisms of prenatal stroke. We describe established prenatal stroke in subgroups similar to postnatal stroke: arterial (forebrain or hindbrain) infarction, venous thrombosis, primary lobar haemorrhage. This longitudinal classification should facilitate the study of risk factors and mechanisms. Forebrain lesions of arterial type present as porencephaly, (hemi)hydranencephaly, multicystic encephalopathy or schizencephaly. Venous prenatal forebrain stroke presents as simple porencephaly (in some of genetic nature) and sinus thrombosis. A list of rare porencephaly-like conditions is added for differentiation from arterial and venous porencephaly. Hindbrain infarctions (so far the only reported variants seem to be of arterial nature) present as brainstem disconnection, focal brainstem destruction, uni- or bilateral cerebellar destruction and focal spinal cord ischaemia. Prenatal intracranial haemorrhage and congenital brain infection should be considered in the differential diagnosis of prenatal stroke.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / abnormalities
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Infarction / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Fetal Diseases* / classification
  • Fetal Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Fetal Diseases* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infections / diagnosis
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / diagnosis
  • Prosencephalon / blood supply
  • Prosencephalon / diagnostic imaging
  • Rhombencephalon / blood supply
  • Rhombencephalon / diagnostic imaging
  • Stroke* / classification
  • Stroke* / diagnosis
  • Stroke* / pathology
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal