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Semin Neurol. 2005 Dec;25(4):410-23.

Pediatric stroke: what do we know and what do we need to know?

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  • 1Neuroepidemiology Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1447, USA.


Stroke is a heterogeneous disorder and an important cause of mortality and chronic morbidity in children. Estimates of international incidence rates for childhood stroke have varied widely. Arterial ischemic stroke is reported to be more common than hemorrhagic stroke in children. The clinical presentation of stroke in children differs according to the child's age and stroke type and location. Several risk factors for ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke in children have been reported and include cardiac disorders, blood disorders, vasculopathies, viral infections, and arteriovenous malformations. Current treatment recommendations for stroke in children are based on small nonrandomized trials, adult stroke studies, case series, or consensus or individual expert opinion. Over half of children with stroke will develop lifelong cognitive or motor disability, and up to a third will have a recurrent stroke. International studies have provided important information on stroke in children, but major gaps in our knowledge of the disorder still exist. Currently, there is a need for prospective cohort studies in diverse populations, which utilize a consensus pediatric stroke classification system and a standard evaluation of risk factors and outcome, so that treatment and prevention strategies can be developed.

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