April 18, 2006

Preeclampsia a risk factor for future stroke

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Pregnant women who develop
preeclampsia -- a condition that includes abnormally high blood
pressure -- are known to run the risk of having a stroke during
pregnancy, but researchers at the US Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention now report that preeclampsia is also a
risk factor for stroke in the future.

Dr. David W. Brown and colleagues in Atlanta used data from
the Stroke Prevention in Young Women Study to assess the
association of preclampsia with stroke in women between the
ages of 15 and 44. The team identified 261 cases of stroke
among nonpregnant women in the study group and compared them
with 416 randomly chosen "controls" who had not had a stroke.

There was a history of preeclampsia in 15 percent of the
women with stroke and in 10 percent of controls, the
investigators report in the medical journal Stroke.

After taking account of age, race, education and number of
pregnancies, women with a history of preeclampsia were 60
percent more likely to have a stroke than those without the
pregnancy complication.

While the reason for the increased risk is unknown, the
researchers say that the findings indicate that women with
preeclampsia should be targeted "for close risk factor
monitoring and control beyond the postpartum period" to reduce
their risk of having a stroke later on.

SOURCE: Stroke, April 2006.