Objective Formerly eclamptic women demonstrate cerebral white matter lesions (WMLs) several years following the index pregnancy. The pathophysiology is unclear and may be related to the predisposition for cerebrovascular/ cardiovascular disease in such women and/or the occurrence of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome whilst pregnant. The aim of this study was to assess the presence and severity of WMLs and their relationship with the severity of the neurological symptoms during the index pregnancy and several current cardiovascular risk factors in formerly pre-eclamptic women. Design This was a retrospective cohort study. Setting The Neuroimaging Centre at the School for Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences, Groningen, the Netherlands. Population Seventy-three formerly pre-eclamptic women were matched for age (37 ± 6 years) and elapsed time since index pregnancy (5.1 ± 3.7 years) with parous control women. Methods Cerebral magnetic resonance imaging scans were performed on cases and controls. Scans were rated by a neuroradiologist blind to the patient category. Main outcome measures The presence and severity of cerebral WMLs. Results Formerly pre-eclamptic women had WMLs significantly more often (37%) and more severely (mean, 0.11; median, 0.00; range, 0-2.34 ml) than controls (21%, P = 0.04; mean, 0.015; median, 0.00; range, 0-0.13 ml; P = 0.02). Current hypertension and a history of early-onset pre-eclampsia (<37 weeks) were independently associated with the presence of WMLs (β = 1.34, P = 0.02 and β = 1.73, P = 0.01, respectively). Conclusions Our findings indicate that pre-eclampsia might be a risk marker for early cerebrovascular damage. The predisposition of formerly pre-eclamptic women to later cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease may be an important factor for the development of cerebral WMLs. Whether a history of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome may be an additive risk factor for the development of these lesions remains unknown.

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doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-0528.2012.03406.x, hdl.handle.net/1765/61638
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Aukes, A.M, de Groot, J.C, Wiegman, M.J, Aarnoudse, J.G, Sanwikarja, G.S, & Zeeman, G.G. (2012). Long-term cerebral imaging after pre-eclampsia. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 119(9), 1117–1122. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2012.03406.x