Lesson of the month 2: Use of thrombolysis for ischaemic stroke in pregnancy – a case report and review of literature

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A nine-week pregnant 33-year-old female presented with sudden-onset right-sided hemiparesis, hemisensory loss, dysarthria and homonymous hemianopia. She was known to have eleven previous miscarriages and used recreational drugs. A CT-head was unremarkable. The patient was subsequently diagnosed with an acute thromboembolic infarct and chose alteplase after counselling. During thrombolysis an ultrasound identified a foetus with no concerning features.  A post-thrombolysis CT revealed a left-sided posterior cerebral infarct. CT-venography, carotid Doppler, 72-hour Holter monitor, thrombophilia and an autoimmune screen were all normal. A transthoracic echocardiogram demonstrated a mobile intra-atrial septum with a patent foramen ovale confirmed on bubble echocardiogram. Three days post-thrombolysis the patient requested a termination of pregnancy. A subsequent transvaginal ultrasound demonstrated a missed miscarriage for which the patient underwent evacuation of retained products of conception. Multidisciplinary care ensured that her sensorimotor deficit resolved grossly with only mild dysarthria and right-hand fine motor incoordination.

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