Timing and Risk Factors of Postpartum Stroke

Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Jan;131(1):70-78. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000002372.


Objective: To characterize risk and timing of postpartum stroke readmission after delivery hospitalization discharge.

Methods: The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's Nationwide Readmissions Database for calendar years 2013 and 2014 was used to perform a retrospective cohort study evaluating risk of readmission for stroke within 60 days of discharge from a delivery hospitalization. Risk was characterized as odds ratios (ORs) with 95% CIs based on whether patients had hypertensive diseases of pregnancy (gestational hypertension or preeclampsia), or chronic hypertension, or neither disorder during the index hospitalization. Adjusted models for stroke readmission risk were created.

Results: From January 1, 2013, to October 31, 2013, and January 1, 2014, to October 31, 2014, 6,272,136 delivery hospitalizations were included in the analysis. One thousand five hundred five cases of readmission for postpartum stroke were identified. Two hundred fourteen (14.2%) cases of stroke occurred among patients with hypertensive diseases of pregnancy, 66 (4.4%) with chronic hypertension, and 1,225 (81.4%) without hypertension. The majority of stroke readmissions occurred within 10 days of hospital discharge (58.4%), including 53.2% of patients with hypertensive diseases of pregnancy during the index hospitalization, 66.7% with chronic hypertension, and 58.9% with no hypertension. Hypertensive diseases of pregnancy and chronic hypertension were associated with increased risk of stroke readmission compared with no hypertension (OR 1.74, 95% CI 1.33-2.27 and OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.19-2.96, respectively). Median times to readmission were 8.9 days for hypertensive diseases of pregnancy, 7.8 days for chronic hypertension, and 8.3 days without either condition.

Conclusion: Although patients with chronic hypertension and hypertensive diseases of pregnancy are at higher risk of postpartum stroke, they account for a minority of such strokes. The majority of readmissions for postpartum stroke occur within 10 days of discharge; optimal blood pressure management may be particularly important during this period.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced / diagnosis*
  • Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced / drug therapy
  • Maternal Age
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Discharge
  • Patient Readmission / economics
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pre-Eclampsia / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, High-Risk*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / etiology*
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult