Pregnancy after direct cerebral bypass for moyamoya disease

Ephraim W. Church, Rabia Qaiser, Teresa E. Bell-Stephens, Mark G. Bigder, Eric K. Chow, Summer S. Han, Yasser Y. El-Sayed, Gary K. Steinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Moyamoya disease (MMD) disproportionately affects young to middle-aged women. The main treatment for this challenging disease is cerebral bypass surgery. Vascular neurosurgeons often need to counsel women regarding pregnancy following bypass for MMD, but there is a paucity of data. The authors set out to examine neurological and obstetric outcomes in an extensive cohort of MMD patients who had pregnancies following cerebral revascularization at the Stanford Medical Center. METHODS The authors identified all patients at their institution who underwent cerebral bypass for MMD from 1990 through 2018 and who later became pregnant. Some of these patients also had pregnancies prior to undergoing bypass surgery, and the authors examined these pregnancies as well. They performed a chart review and brief telephone survey to identify obstetric complications, transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), and strokes. Neurological and obstetric outcomes were compared to published rates. They also compared pre- and post-bypass pregnancy complication rates using logistic regression techniques. RESULTS There were 71 pregnancies among 56 women whose mean age was 30.5 years. Among 59 post-bypass pregnancies, there were 5 (8%) perinatal TIAs. There were no MRI-confirmed strokes or strokes with residual deficits. Among 12 pre-bypass pregnancies, there were 3 (25%) TIAs and 2 (17%) MRI-confirmed strokes. There were no hemorrhagic complications in either group. In the generalized estimating equations analysis, performing cerebral revascularization prior to pregnancy versus after pregnancy was associated with lower odds of perinatal stroke or TIA (OR 0.15, p = 0.0061). Nine pregnancies (13%) were complicated by preeclampsia, and there was one (1%) instance of eclampsia. The overall rate of cesarean delivery was 39%. There were 2 miscarriages, both occurring in the first trimester. There were no maternal deaths. CONCLUSIONS The authors present neurological and obstetric outcomes data in a large cohort of MMD patients. These data indicate that post-bypass pregnancy is accompanied by low complication rates. There were no ischemic or hemorrhagic strokes among post-bypass pregnant MMD patients. The rate of obstetric complications was low overall. The authors recommend close collaboration between the vascular neurosurgeon and the obstetrician regarding medical management, including blood pressure goals and continuation of low-dose aspirin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-16
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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