New York, Aug 31: Women who received infertility treatments like in vitro-fertilisation (IVF) had an increased risk of stroke hospitalisation within 12 months of delivery, according to an alarming study.
Researchers from the Rutgers University analysed 31,339,991 pregnant individuals who delivered between 2010 and 2018, compared with those who did not receive infertility treatment.
“Although the absolute rates of hospitalisation were low, we found that infertility treatment was associated with an overall 66 per cent increased risk of stroke hospitalisation,” they reported in the paper published in the JAMA Network Open.
They were also twice as likely to suffer the deadlier form of a stroke, a hemorrhagic stroke, and 55 per cent more likely to suffer an ischemic stroke.
Ischemic stroke, more common, is due to the loss of blood supply to an area of the brain, while hemorrhagic stroke is due to bleeding into the brain by the rupture of a blood vessel.
Importantly, “the increase in risk was evident even as early as the first 30 days post delivery, which highlights the need for early and continued follow-up in this population”, the findings showed.
The study comes as infertility treatment has grown at a rapid pace over recent years given substantial advancements in technology, the development of new medications and protocols, and overall improved access to care.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death in women, with one in three deaths attributable to CVD each year. Stroke is the third leading cause of death among both men and women.
Studies indicate 1 in 5 women is at risk of developing a stroke in their lifetime, and evidence suggests that many do not know the health factors that put them at risk for stroke or other CVD.
While the study did not find the immediate reason why women who received fertility treatments were at higher risk, the researchers said it could be because of the hormone treatments women undergoing the procedures must take, as well as a higher risk for these women that the placenta does not implant properly.
The researchers called for timely follow-up in the immediate days postpartum and continued long-term follow-up to be considered to mitigate stroke risk.