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ASA: Pregnancy at Advanced Age Ups Hemorrhagic Stroke Risk

After adjustment for multiple variables, significantly increased risk in postmenopausal women

pregnant woman

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 17, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnancy at an advanced age is associated with increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke after menopause, according to a study presented at the annual American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference, held from Feb. 17 to 19 in Los Angeles.

Adnan I. Qureshi, M.D., from the Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Institute in St. Cloud, Minn., and colleagues analyzed data for 72,221 women aged 50 to 79 years who were enrolled in the observational arm of the Women's Health Initiative Study. The authors examined the effect of pregnancy at later age on the risk of ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, myocardial infarction, and cardiovascular death during a mean period of 12 years.

The researchers found that 4.6 percent of the participants reported pregnancy at an advanced age (last pregnancy at age ≥40 years). Women with pregnancy at an advanced age had significantly higher rates of ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, myocardial infarction, and cardiovascular death (all P < 0.0001), compared with pregnancy at normal age. After adjustment for age, race/ethnicity, systolic blood pressure, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, alcohol use, and cigarette smoking, women with pregnancy in advanced age were significantly more likely to experience a hemorrhagic stroke (hazard ratio, 1.60).

"We already knew that older women were more likely than younger women to experience health problems during their pregnancy," Qureshi said in a statement. "Now, we know that the consequences of that later pregnancy stretch years into the future."

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