Document Detail

Fulminant postpartum cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22232351     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVE: To raise awareness of the potentially adverse consequences of postpartum cerebral vasoconstriction, which is typically considered benign and self-limiting, by describing 4 fulminantly fatal cases.
DESIGN: Retrospective case series.
SETTING: Tertiary referral center.
PATIENTS: Four postpartum women aged 15 to 33 years developed acute neurologic deficits 1 to 8 days after uncomplicated deliveries. One had a history of migraine headaches and 2 had histories of spontaneous abortion. Two of the patients had uneventful pregnancies and 2 had preeclampsia, 1 of whom had acute hepatic failure. Presenting symptoms included severe headache (n=3), focal deficit (n=1), seizure (n=1), and encephalopathy (n=1). Initial brain imaging results demonstrated cortical ischemia and global edema in 2 patients, lobar hemorrhage in 1, and normal findings in 1. All had rapid clinical deterioration from hours to days with multiterritorial infarctions and global brain edema on imaging. All had angiographic findings of diffuse, severe, segmental multifocal arterial narrowings.
INTERVENTIONS: Aggressive treatment was attempted with most patients including intravenous magnesium sulfate, corticosteroids, calcium channel blockers, balloon angioplasty, vasopressors, and osmotic agents. Two patients underwent serial angiography, with results showing severe, recurrent proximal vasoconstriction involving all major intracranial vessels.
RESULTS: All patients had fulminant, accelerating courses leading to their deaths within 8 to 24 days after delivery.
CONCLUSIONS: Postpartum vasoconstriction can be fatal, with rapid progression of vasoconstriction, ischemia, and brain edema. Clinicians need to be aware of the potential consequences of this condition. Postpartum women with acute neurologic symptoms require prompt investigation with noninvasive cerebrovascular imaging and close monitoring for possible secondary deterioration.
Jennifer E Fugate; Eelco F M Wijdicks; Joseph E Parisi; David F Kallmes; Harry J Cloft; Kelly D Flemming; Elias A Giraldo; Alejandro A Rabinstein
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Archives of neurology     Volume:  69     ISSN:  1538-3687     ISO Abbreviation:  Arch. Neurol.     Publication Date:  2012 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-01-10     Completed Date:  2012-02-21     Revised Date:  2012-08-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0372436     Medline TA:  Arch Neurol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  111-7     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Mayo Clinic 8-W, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Headache / diagnosis,  physiopathology*
Middle Cerebral Artery / pathology
Postpartum Period*
Pregnancy Complications
Retrospective Studies
Young Adult
Comment In:
Arch Neurol. 2012 Jun;69(6):792; author reply 792-3   [PMID:  22689199 ]

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