Stroke in children

Eduardo Mekitarian Filho Werther Brunow de Carvalho About the authors

OBJECTIVES: To summarize 1) the definitions and epidemiological features of stroke in children; 2) the main risk factors that can lead to stroke in pediatrics and neonatology; 3) the main pathophysiological features involved in the genesis of brain injury in stroke; 4) the clinical manifestations and imaging diagnosis; and 5) the latest recommendations concerning the support measures, treatment, and prophylaxis of stroke in children. SOURCES: A review of the literature published in PubMed, EMBASE, and SciELO databases using the search terms stroke, pediatrics, and neonatology was performed, including relevant references from the chosen texts. SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS: Stroke in children are rare conditions, with incidence rates among two and eight per 100,000 children up to 14 years, and most cases show an underlying disease such as heart diseases, prothrombotic conditions, sickle-cell disease, and vascular malformations. There are no specific guidelines currently in place for the treatment of stroke in children, although central elements include support treatment, monitoring, and anticoagulation as secondary prevention in certain cases. Prognosis depends on the extent of brain damage and the underlying disease but recurrence rates are high in most cases. CONCLUSIONS: Early diagnosis of stroke in children is very important and pediatricians should be aware of the lack of specificity of the symptoms to avoid late sequelae and improve life quality.

Stroke; pediatrics; neonatology; intensive care; anticoagulants

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