Epidemiology of perinatal stroke

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Perinatal stroke has become increasingly recognized, but the incidence is probably underestimated because of variation in the presentation, evaluation, and diagnosis. Based on estimates from population-based studies of infants with seizures, perinatal stroke occurs in approximately 1 in 4000 term births. Most perinatal strokes involve the middle cerebral artery and are caused by thromboembolism from an intracranial or extracranial vessel, the heart, or the placenta. Cardiac disorders, coagulation abnormalities, and infection are risk factors for stroke in the perinatal period. This article discusses the epidemiology of ischemic stroke occurring in the perinatal and neonatal period, including cerebrovascular events that are diagnosed during the perinatal period and those diagnosed retrospectively, when evidence of hemiparesis or postneonatal seizures leads to later evaluation and neuroimaging.

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