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New Data Reveals Continuous Trend of Stroke Risk Among Pregnant Women

In This Article

  • The results of a nationwide study presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) 2019 Scientific Sessions showed that the instance of stroke among pregnant women did not improve from 2007 to 2015
  • Islam Elgendy, MD, discussed the study findings, which showed that the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is rising compared to other developed countries
  • Elgendy highlighted an urgent need to identify risk factors and reduce the maternal mortality rate among this group of patients

Data from a study presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) 2019 Scientific Sessions revealed that stroke risk among women hospitalized for pregnancy or postpartum did not improve over nearly a decade.

Islam Elgendy, MD, interventional cardiologist and vascular interventional fellow at the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues recognized a lack of data regarding the incidence of stroke during pregnancy. They pulled from a national database to investigate the incidence and outcomes of acute stroke and transient ischemic attack during pregnancy or within six weeks of childbirth.

In an interview with MDMag, Dr. Elgendy explained that the instance of stroke among this group was about 0.04%, which means that about one in 2,200 hospitalized women had a stroke. He expressed further concern that this trend may be increasing.

Dr. Elgendy also reported that the maternal mortality rate of women who had a stroke was about 4%, which is about 400 times more than women who did not have a stroke. He noted that while trends of mortality are getting better due to improved treatment, there is a still need for more effective cardiovascular-preventive measures.

The maternal mortality rate is increasing in the United States compared to other developed countries, and the number one cause of death among this cohort of patients is cardiovascular disease.

To resolve the risk of stroke among female patients hospitalized for pregnancy, Dr. Elgendy says that the first step is highlighting the problem and identifying the risk factors. According to the study, traditional risk factors including hypertension, diabetes and smoking are increasing. For this reason, Dr. Elgendy emphasized the importance of discussing risk factors with female patients before pregnancy in order to minimize health risks.

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