Fetal strokes occur when blood flow to a child’s brain is blocked or restricted due to a multitude of factors including hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), intracranial hemorrhage, birth trauma, and blot clot formation in blood vessels.
These can cause permanent brain injury, resulting in seizures, cerebral palsy (CP) and intellectual disabilities. They are one of the most common known causes of CP in term and near-term infants, and often occur together with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and birth trauma. Prompt diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation is key to improved outcome.
Fetal stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident or brain infarct, is a stroke that occurs between 14 weeks of gestation through labor and delivery. It is caused by blood supply to the brain becoming blocked or restricted. This restriction can be caused by anything that decreases blood flow, such as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), trauma, the formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel, internal bleeding and hemorrhaging, and anything that occludes blood flow.
When the blood supply to the brain becomes blocked, brain cells may die, which can result in a permanent brain injury. A fetal stroke can cause cerebral palsy, seizures, and intellectual disabilities.