Neurocritical Care of the Pregnant Patient

Deepa Malaiyandi, Elysia James, Lindsay Peglar, Nurose Karim, Nicholas Henkel, Kristin Guilliams

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose of review: To summarize recent changes in management and emerging therapies for pregnant neurocritical care patients. Recent findings: Diagnostic and treatment options for managing neurologic emergencies in pregnant patients have expanded with both greater understanding of the effects of imaging modalities and medications on pregnancy and application of standard treatments for non-pregnant patients to pregnant populations. Specifically, this includes cerebrovascular diseases (pregnancy-associated ischemic stroke, pregnancy-associated intracerebral hemorrhage, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis), post-maternal cardiac arrest care, seizures and status epilepticus, myasthenia gravis, and fetal somatic support in maternal death by neurologic criteria. Summary: With the exception of direct abdominal computed tomography (CT), most imaging studies are reasonably safe in pregnancy. When emergent imaging is needed to prevent maternal morbidity or mortality, any CT sequence with or without contrast is appropriate to pursue. Though new safety data on antiplatelets, antihypertensives, thrombolytics, and antiepileptic drugs have increased options for disease management in pregnancy, unfractionated and low-molecular weight heparin remain the safest options for anticoagulation. Early studies on hypothermia, ketamine, and immunomodulating therapies in pregnancy are promising. In myasthenia gravis, new data on adjunct devices may allow more patients to undergo safe vaginal delivery, avoiding cesarean section and the associated risk of crisis. When difficult decisions regarding preterm delivery arise, recent outcome studies can help inform discussion. Lastly, when the feared complication of maternal death by neurologic criteria occurs, fetal somatic support may help to save at least one life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Neurology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Acute cerebrovascular disorders in pregnancy
  • Myasthenic crisis in pregnancy, neurocritical care management during pregnancy
  • Neurological emergencies in pregnancy
  • Post-maternal cardiac arrest care
  • Status epilepticus in pregnancy


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