Pediatric strokes do happen

In transcribing a variety of medical specialties to include pediatric reports, I’ve recently come across transcribing medical charts where, not only the elderly, but newborns, infants and children are susceptible to having strokes.

What is a stroke?strokes

A stroke is the sudden stoppage or decrease in the flow of blood in the brain, severe enough that it causes damage to the brain.  There are two types of strokes; ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic stroke is where a clot can block blood flow to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke is when a blood vessel in or near the brain ruptures, causing bleeding in the brain.

According to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, the risk of stroke from birth to age 18 is nearly 11 per 100,000 children per year. Stroke remains among the top 10 causes of death in children.

Risk Factors

Boys and African-American children are at a higher risk of stroke than any other groups. Some of the other risk factors for stroke occurring in children are:

  • Congenital heart defects
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Head and neck infections
  • Head and neck trauma
  • Pregnancy-related high blood pressure in the mother

These are just a few of the many risk factors for a stroke occurring in children. Strokes are sometimes not recognized or treated properly because we do not think about infants or children having strokes.

Some of the pediatric stroke signs and symptoms  are seizures, extreme sleepiness, a tendency to use one side of the body, sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms or legs, difficulty speaking.

To all the expectant mothers, empower your health and the health of your unborn child by taking action in receiving the best prenatal care possible from day one!  It is important because there may be a family history of clots, prior strokes in either the mother’s or father’s side of the family.  It is also important refrain from smoking, and to eat properly and stay well hydrated during your entire pregnancy.


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