The clinical courses of 8 term infants with focal cerebral infarction or neonatal stroke were studied to determine whether such infants can be identified by current markers of perinatal distress, and whether changes in cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFV) occur during the acute phase of the disease. CBFV was measured from the middle cerebral artery (MCA) and anterior cerebral artery (ACA) utilizing duplex Doppler. Seven of the 8 patients required no resuscitation in the delivery room; 1 infant required brief bag and mask ventilation. No infant had evidence of severe fetal acidemia (i.e., cord pH <7). All 8 infants were initially admitted to the newborn nursery. Infants were identified on the basis of abnormal clinical findings observed during the first 48 hours: seizures (n = 6) and hypotonia and apnea (n = 2). Serum electrolytes, calcium, magnesium, and glucose levels were normal, and the sepsis evaluation including a spinal tap was sterile in all patients. Neuroimaging revealed nonhemorrhagic left focal MCA infarction (n = 6) and right focal MCA infarction (n = 2). Duplex Doppler demonstrated transient ipsilateral decreases in CBFV as compared to the contralateral unaffected side at clinical presentation in 4 infants. In 2 of these infants the decrease in CBFV involved both the MCA and ACA, and in 2 infants, only the MCA vessels. These side-to-side differences were not present at subsequent CBFV measurements. The data indicate that infants who develop neonatal stroke cannot be distinguished from infants who do not develop the lesion by current markers of perinatal distress. Because neonatal stroke frequently occurs as an unanticipated event, prevention may not be possible.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental Neuroscience
- Clinical Neurology