Pediatric Stroke – A Few Facts

  • Perinatal stroke, neonatal stroke, infant stroke, and childhood stroke are some of the most common causes of hemiplegia or hemiparesis in or unilateral cerebral palsy in children.
  • Perinatal arterial ischemic stroke is the most common form of stroke in children and it occurs in 1 in every 2800 live births.
  • Sixty percent of these children who have a stroke have specific symptoms such as recurrent focal seizures in the first three days of life.
  • However, forty percent of children with early stroke do not have symptoms and the stroke is recognized later with delays in movement, development, learning, or seizures.
  • A child who favors one hand, leaves the other hand in a fist or doesn’t bring both hands together during play should be referred to an early intervention program and a pediatric neurologist for further testing.
  • Delays in early milestones – rolling, sitting, pulling to stand, crawling, and walking – are additional reasons for evaluation.
  • A child with early stroke may be unwilling to bear weight on one leg or may point the toes on that foot or walk on tip toe.
  • The pediatric stroke diagnosis is confirmed with ultrasounds and MRI.