WASHINGTON—A maternal history of preeclampsia may identify adults who are at increased risk for stroke: Adults whose mothers had severe preeclampsia were almost twice as likely to have strokes as were adults whose mothers did not have preeclampsia, based on data from more than 6,000 singleton pregnancies in Finland.
This study is one of the first to examine the long-term health risks of the offspring of women who had preeclampsia, Dr. Eero Kajantie said at the annual congress of the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy. “We know surprisingly little about which pregnancy conditions are associated with increased risk for coronary heart disease and stroke” among offspring.
Previous studies have shown that these women are at increased risk for coronary heart disease and stroke later in life. Also, their children are prone to high blood pressure during childhood, said Dr. Kajantie of the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki. Dr. Kajantie and his colleagues based their conclusion on a review of data from 6,410 members of the Helsinki Birth Cohort, who were born as singletons between 1934 and 1944.
Overall, 284 pregnancies (4.4%) were complicated by preeclampsia and 1,592 (24.8%) met criteria for hypertension without proteinuria. Among the children of these pregnancies, 464 (7.2%) had a diagnosis of coronary heart disease and 272 (4.2%) had a diagnosis of stroke. Diagnoses of CHD and stroke were collected from national hospital discharge records and death registries. The risk of stroke was almost twice as likely in the 164 adults whose mothers had severe preeclampsia (hazard ratio, 1.7), after the researchers controlled for sex, low birth weight, and gestational age.
The researchers also found that hypertension was a significant predictor of stroke, but was not a significant predictor of CHD.
Dr. Kajantie stated that he had no financial conflicts to disclose.