UMEM Educational Pearls

This study is a case control study of the association of congenital heart disease (CHD) and stroke using a base population of 2.5 million Kaiser patients in California. 412 cases of stroke were identified and compared to 1236 controls. Of these stroke patients, 11/216 ischemic strokes and 4/196 hemorrhagic strokes were attributed to CHD (both cyanotic and acyanotic lesions). CHD was found in 7/1236 controls.

Children with CHD and history of cardiac surgery had the strongest risk of stroke (31 fold over the control group). Many of these children had strokes years after their surgery. Children with CHD who did not have cardiac surgery had a trend towards elevated stroke risk, but the confidence intervals included the null. More children without CHD history presented with headache.

Bottom line: Stroke risk (both hemorrhagic and ischemic) extend past the immediate postoperative period in patients with CHD.


Fox CK, Sidney S and Fullerton HJ. Community-Based Case Control Study of Childhood Stroke Risk Associated With Congenital Heart Disease. Stoke 2015; 46:336-340.