Background: Perinatal stroke causes cerebral palsy and lifelong disability. Specific diseases are definable, including arterial and venous ischemic injuries, but pathophysiological mechanisms are poorly understood. Thrombophilia has long been considered a potential contributor but population-based, controlled, disease-specific studies are limited.
Hypothesis: Thrombophilia is uncommon in children with perinatal stroke.
Methods: Subjects were recruited from the Alberta Perinatal Stroke Project, a population-based cohort with MRI-classified perinatal strokes: neonatal arterial ischemic stroke (NAIS), arterial presumed perinatal ischemic stroke (APPIS), and fetal periventricular venous infarction (PVI). Standardized thrombophilia evaluations were performed prospectively (2008-2015) after 12 months of age on stroke cases and matched controls. Measures included protein C and S, antithrombin III, factors VIII/IX/XI, fibrinogen, lipoprotein a, lupus anticoagulant, and antiphospholipid antibodies. Groups were compared (ANOVA, chi-square), corrected for multiple comparisons.
Results: A total of 252 children were studied (58 NAIS, 48 APPIS, 69 PVI, 77 controls). Of 14 parameters, no differences were observed in 12 including all common thrombophilias. Prothrombin times were shorter in arterial strokes compared to controls (p<0.001). Factor XI levels were higher in arterial and PVI strokes compared to controls (p=0.004). Rates of genetic thrombophilias including factor V Leiden, prothrombin gene, and MTHFR were low and comparable to population rates.
Conclusion: Our prospective, population-based, controlled, disease-specific study suggests minimal association between perinatal stroke and thrombophilia. This does not exclude the possibility of disordered coagulation at the time of stroke but suggests testing in childhood is not indicated.