Postpartum Stroke Risk Increased Among Women With Infection During Delivery

Women diagnosed with an infection during delivery were found to be at an increased risk for hospital readmission due to stroke.

Women diagnosed with an infection during delivery were found to be at an increased risk for postpartum stroke, according to preliminary research results presented at the American Stroke Association’s 2019 International Stroke Conference, held February 6-8, 2019, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The findings of this study resulted from the examination of 3.5 million delivery hospitalizations from the 2013 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project National Readmissions Database. The research team, led by Eliza C. Miller, MD, from Columbia University in New York, NY, found that a total of 79,656 women were readmitted to the hospital within 1 month following delivery; of these, 225 were readmitted for stroke.

Researchers found a significant relationship between infections such as bladder infections, pneumonia, and sepsis during delivery and stroke within the following month. Upon further examination, women with an infection during delivery were more than 5 times as likely to be readmitted for stroke (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 5.7; 95% CI, 2.4-13.6). Compared with women readmitted for other reasons, women readmitted for stroke were more than 3 times as likely to have had an infection during delivery (adjusted OR 3.5; 95% CI, 1.9-6.5).

Readmission for stroke due to infection during delivery occurred regardless of pregnancy-related complications such as preeclampsia.

“Even though it is rare, maternal stroke has been increasing in the United States,” stated Dr Miller. “Women who have infections at the time of delivery should be counseled about the signs and symptoms of stroke, such as severe headache, vision changes, speech difficulty or sudden weakness, and the need to seek immediate medical attention if they experience these symptoms.”


Miller EC, Medina J, Friedman AM, Elkind MS, Boehme AK. Infection during delivery hospitalization is associated with increased risk of readmission for postpartum stroke

.Presented at: 2019 International Stroke Conference. February 6-8, 2019; Honolulu, HI. Poster WMP86.

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