Background: Pregnancy is a sex-specific risk factor for causing hemorrhagic stroke (HS) in young adults. Unique physiological characteristics during pregnancy may alter the relative risk for HS in pregnant/postpartum (PP) women compared to HS in other young women. We compared patient characteristics and HS subtypes between young non-pregnant and PP women.
Methods: We reviewed the medical records of all women 18-45 years old admitted to our center with HS from October 15, 2008 through March 31, 2015, and compared patient characteristics and stroke mechanisms using logistic regression.
Results: Of the 130 young women with HS during the study period, 111 were non-PP women, and 19 PP women. PP women had lower proportions of vascular risk factors such as hypertension, prior stroke, and smoking, and a higher proportion of migraine (36.8 vs. 14.4%, p = 0.01). After adjusting for hypertension, smoking, migraine, prior stroke and prior myocardial infarction, PP women had lower odds of having an underlying vascular lesion (OR 0.14, 95% CI 0.04-0.44, p = 0.0009) and a higher proportion of the reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS) as cause of their HS.
Conclusions: Women with pregnancy-associated HS had fewer cerebrovascular risk factors, lower odds of having -underlying vascular lesions, and higher proportion of -migraine and RCVS compared with similar-aged non--pregnant women. Pregnancy-associated HS appears to represent a unique pathophysiological process, requiring targeted study.
Keywords: Hemorrhagic stroke; Stroke etiology; Stroke in pregnancy.
© 2018 S. Karger AG, Basel.