Fetal intracranial hemorrhage (fetal stroke): Does grade matter?

U. Elchalal*, S. Yagel, J. M. Gomori, S. Porat, L. Beni-Adani, N. Yanai, M. Nadjari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine if the severity of antenatally diagnosed hemorrhagic fetal brain insults and fetal stroke detected by ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) predicts postnatal neurodevelopmental prognosis. Methods: The in-utero presentation and postnatal neurodevelopmental outcome of sonographically detected subdural hematoma or fetal stroke presenting as intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) or intraparenchymal brain hemorrhage were investigated. Results: Of 33 fetuses diagnosed with hemorrhagic brain lesions, 17 were electively terminated and two suffered intrauterine fetal demise. Thirteen were liveborn, seven by Cesarean delivery and six by spontaneous vaginal delivery. One case was lost to follow-up. Eight neonates had moderate to severe neurological deficit by a mean age of 35 (range, 6-96) months. One died at 2 months of age. These nine were diagnosed with Grade III-IV IVH in utero. Four neonates had normal neurological outcome by a mean age of 41 (range, 30-48) months; these four were diagnosed with subdural hematoma (n = 1) or Grade I-II IVH (n = 3) in utero. Fourteen cases were followed up with MRI, which confirmed ultrasound findings in 10 (71%) cases. In three (21%) cases MRI diagnosis was more accurate and the severity of grading was greater than that obtained on ultrasound imaging. Unilateral left hemispheric lesions were much more common than right-sided lesions (13 vs. 1, respectively). Conclusions: An antenatal sonographic diagnosis of fetal stroke with IVH Grade III-IV or with brain parenchymal involvement appears to be associated with poor neurological outcome. MRI may contribute to the accuracy of diagnosis, particularly in Grade II and III lesions. Left-sided unilateral lesions are more common than right-sided ones.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)233-243
Number of pages11
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Fetal brain ischemia
  • Fetal stroke
  • Intraventricular hemorrhage
  • MRI
  • Prenatal diagnosis
  • Subdural hematoma
  • Ultrasound


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