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Acta Neurol Belg. 1997 Mar;97(1):5-16.

Arterial ischemic strokes associated with pregnancy and puerperium.

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Clinique neurologique, CHU de Lille, France.


Physiological changes occurring during pregnancy and puerperium may increase the risk of stroke. However, the incidence rate of ischemic stroke is of 3.8 to 5 in 100,000 pregnancies, i.e. quite similar to that of ischemic strokes occurring in non pregnant women of child bearing age. Whereas eclampsia, choriocarcinoma and amniotic emboli occur only during pregnancy or puerperium, peripartum cardiomyopathy and benign cerebral angiopathy are less specific. All other causes of cerebral ischemia may also occur during pregnancy and puerperium. The management of an ischemic stroke should not differ between pregnant and non pregnant women of child bearing age. Strokes associated with pregnancy require a complete diagnostic work-up including angiography if necessary. Low doses of aspirin (60-80 mg/d) can be used after 3 months of pregnancy. Heparin is the anticoagulant of choice during pregnancy, but warfarin may be used between 13 and 36 weeks of gestation; heparin and warfarin can be used during breast feeding. There is no neurological reason to recommend a systematic use of cesarean section. Subsequent prescription of oral contraceptive therapy is not recommended except in patients with a definite cause of ischemic stroke which is not influenced by hormones.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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