Risk factors of intracranial haemorrhage in preeclampsia: a case-control study

Neurol Sci. 2022 Oct;43(10):6003-6010. doi: 10.1007/s10072-022-06286-3. Epub 2022 Jul 23.


Intracranial haemorrhage (ICH) is an uncommon but one of the most devastating and potentially fatal complications of preeclampsia. Most ICHs in pregnancy are reported in the absence of a vascular lesion, and severe systolic hypertension is thought to be an important risk factor even though many reports suggest that ICH can complicate preeclampsia even at lower blood pressure levels. In this case-control study of preeclamptic women, risk factors associated with ICH were compared in women who did and did not develop ICH. During the study period, ICH occurred in 1.8% (42/2167) pregnancies with preeclampsia, with 45.2% (n = 19/42) resulting in maternal mortality. HELLP syndrome (OR = 11.5; 95% CI 3.8-34.8), multiparity (OR 3.2; 95% CI 1.4-7.7), nausea/vomiting (OR = 3.6; 95% CI 1.4-9.3), and lower educational attainment (OR = 38.2; 95% CI 3.5-423.6) were associated with the increased probability of ICH. The incidence of caesarean birth (n = 29, 74.4% vs. n = 161, 34.5%) and neonatal mortality (n = 4, 13.3% vs. n = 17, 4.0%) were higher among preeclamptic who have ICH compared to those who did not have it. Improving awareness as well as early identification of those at risk of preeclampsia and complications can limit the impact of ICH among pregnant women with preeclampsia, especially in low- to middle-income countries.

Keywords: HELLP syndrome; Intracranial haemorrhage; Maternal mortality; Preeclampsia; Pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • HELLP Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages* / complications
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Pre-Eclampsia* / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors