Neonatal stroke is increasingly recognized, and risk factors have been identified. The placenta has been implicated as a potential contributor to neonatal stroke; however, pathology has not been previously described. This case series systematically evaluates prenatal, maternal, and neonatal risk factors and describes placental pathology in 12 cases of neonatal stroke.
We reviewed the Canadian Pediatric Ischemic Stroke Registry from 1992 to 2006, which consists of 186 neonatal stroke patients. Twelve patients with symptomatic cerebral arterial ischemic stroke or sinovenous thrombosis had their placenta available for pathologic examination. Clinical presentation; maternal, prenatal, and neonatal risk factors for stroke; and patient outcome were collected retrospectively from patient charts. Gross and microscopic placental pathology was described and classified into 4 pathologic categories.
Of 12 patients studied, 10 patients were male, 5 patients had arterial ischemic stroke, and 7 patients had sinovenous thrombosis. Maternal risk factors were identified in 5 cases, prenatal risk factors in 10 cases, and neonatal risk factors in 10 cases. Placental lesions were present in 10 cases and were classified as thromboinflammatory process in 6 cases, sudden catastrophic event in 5 cases, decreased placental reserve in 3 cases, and stressful intrauterine environment in 2 cases.
This study reviews detailed placental pathology in a selected cohort of patients presenting near the time of delivery and correlates this with clinical presentation, outcome, and risk factors for neonatal stroke. Our results suggest that multiple risk factors are involved in neonatal stroke, and placental pathology may be a contributing factor. The implications of specific placental lesions remain to be determined with larger, case-controlled studies.