Hypertension during pregnancy linked to stroke

February 10, 2011

Women who have high blood pressure during pregnancy?especially adolescents, women over age 35 years, and women who deliver prematurely?are at increased risk of suffering a subsequent stroke, a new study concludes.

 

Women who have high blood pressure during pregnancy-especially adolescents, women over age 35 years, and women who deliver prematurely-are at increased risk of suffering a subsequent stroke, a new study concludes.

Researchers from 2 hospitals in Taiwan examined the medical records of 5,807 Taiwanese women, 1,092 of whom had hypertension disorders in pregnancy (HDP). Twenty-one of the women with high blood pressure had a stroke within 6 years of giving birth (an incidence of 30.1 per 10,000 person years), compared with 40 of the 4,715 women without high blood pressure (12.8 per 10,000 person-years).

“Preterm delivery and older ages increase the risk of subsequent stroke,” the authors write. “Adolescents with HDP also have an elevated risk of stroke.”

The highest age-related risk was among women with HDP 15 to 18 years of age (hazard ratio, 13.4), followed by women 35 years of age and older (hazard ratio, 5.56). Women with HDP who delivered prematurely had an adjusted hazard ratio of 3.22, or about a 1 in 110 chance of having a subsequent stroke.

The investigators caution that “because the sample size of teen pregnancy was small in this study, a high incidence of subsequent stroke in teens with HDP may be attributable to chance,” adding that the finding warrants further study. They advocate early identification of women with HDP to promote stroke prevention.

Their research was published online January 13 in Stroke.