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Perinatal Stroke: Classification


The following information is designed to provide a general education about perinatal stroke.
The information is based on current evidence from the medical literature and the collective experience of the Alberta Perinatal Stroke Project (APSP).
Information is kept current as best possible.
However, our field continues to have more questions than answers.
Therefore, differences in terminology and information may differ from other resources. Readers are encouraged to discuss inconsistencies and questions with our team in the clinic.

What is Perinatal Stroke?

Stroke typically refers to the blockage (ischemic stroke) or breakage (hemorrhagic stroke) of a blood vessel (artery or vein) in the brain. 

Perinatal refers to the timeframe that extends all the way from the middle of pregnancy (fetal life) through birth and the first month of life.

Perinatal strokes are focal diseases of brain blood vessels that lead to injury in the brain during the fetal or newborn period. Perinatal stroke is not just one disease as several specific types are now recognized.


What are the Different Types of Perinatal Stroke?

The following provides links to additional sites on some forms of perinatal stroke.
For others where such resources are lacking, we provide additional educational information.

Perinatal strokes can be accurately classified by considering the following factors:
1.    Type: Ischemic or hemorrhagic
2.    Blood vessel affected: Artery or vein
3.    Timing of injury: Before birth (fetal) or around time of birth
4.    Timing of symptoms: At birth or later in infancy

Considering these factors, and summarized in the figure below, the  most common forms of perinatal stroke are:

Neonatal AIS (NAIS)

Presumed Perinatal Ischemic Stroke (PPIS)

The other two forms of perinatal stroke are reviewed elsewhere:

Neonatal hemorrhagic stroke