Children’s Stroke Guidelines
Friday, October 3, 2008

Strokes don’t only occur in older adults—children can have them too. In today’s 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Ed Hill tells us about some recently released guidelines for children’s stroke.

Stroke in children is uncommon but not as rare as we used to think. The American Stroke Association has for the first time released guidelines on diagnosing and treating stroke in children.

About 10 out of every 100,000 children have a stroke each year. The risk is greatest during the first two months of life.

Children tend to have a different kind of stroke than adults. About 80 percent of adult stroke victims have an ischemic stroke, in which a blockage in a blood vessel cuts off blood supply to the brain. Only about 55 percent of strokes in children are ischemic. The rest are hemorrhagic, meaning there is bleeding in the brain.

The most common causes of stroke in children are sickle cell disease and heart disease. Often a stroke is the first warning sign of these diseases.

Doctors have gotten much better at diagnosing stroke in children, thanks to modern imaging technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography scans.

Once a child has been diagnosed, treatment is aimed at preventing both neurological damage and future strokes.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, I’m Dr. Ed Hill.