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Importance of paediatric stroke awareness for parents

July 4, 2023

First of all let’s know What is stroke : It’s a sudden onset of focal neurological deficits due to lack of blood supply or hemorrhage in brain causing symptoms lasting more than 24 hours.It can also be seen in infants and children that’s called paediatric stroke.

Classification of paediatric stroke :

Hemorrhagic Stroke

It’s the most common stroke in children.This occurs when a blood vessel in or near the brain ruptures causing bleeding.The symptoms are raised ICP ( increased intracranial pressure),headache,vomiting,seizures and diffuse encephalopathy.

Arterial Ischemic Stroke

It happens when the blood flow to the brain is blocked due to a clot called a thrombus in one of the blood vessels in brain.The symptoms are focal neurological signs,hemiparesis,mono paresis,cranial N palsy,ataxia,aphasia,visual field loss,focal seizures,new onset encephalopathy.

Ischemic stroke is again divided into two:

Perinatal stroke and Childhood stroke

It is commonly seen in newborns and often go unnoticed and undiagnosed.It occurs from 28 weeks gestation to 28 post natal days of life.Stroke occurring after 28 days to 18 years of age is called childhood stroke.

Stroke risk factors

If we see the stroke risk factors in adults it’s atherosclerosis,hypertension,diabetes, smoking and whereas in children it is arteriopathies,congenital heart disease,haematological disorders,prothrombotic state.Paediatric stroke is much more variable and unique in comparison to adults.

The risk groups include

Newborns especially with history HI that is hypoxic ischemic caused by loss of blood and oxygen flow to the baby’s brain during pregnancy or the childbirth. Other children with sickle cell anemia,congenital heart disease,immune disorders,problems with blood clotting,headaches,altered mental state that is vision loss,behavioural changes,dizziness,neck pain or stiffness,difficulty talking ,face dropping that is numbness in one side of the face,arm weakness,some metabolic problems and genetic disorders are also at risk of developing paediatric stroke.

Treatment and recovery

It can be cured by medical therapy,the child may be given aspirin or blood thinners or anticoagulants and special vitamins.Children with sickle cell anemia may be treated with hydroxyurea,transfusion therapy or both.After initial treatment the child may receive physical and rehabilitation therapy.Your child may need help with learning,speech,vision therapy and deal with behaviour problems. Brain imaging studies that’s MRI test,CT scans are a good option to test stroke in children. Some blood tests,ECG,EEG and also pulse oximetry may also be required to understand the patient better. The recovery happens in the early weeks and months.Some children will be able to leave the hospital quickly while others may need some time for recovery.In some cases surgery is needed. It is important to call 911 at the first sign of stroke.Treatment works best if started at the earliest.

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