More awareness, fast response key to combatting stroke in children

February 12, 2014

Parents and healthcare professionals must be aware that children can have strokes and be prepared to respond to symptoms, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2014.

As in adults, warning signs of in children are: sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg; sudden difficulty in speaking; sudden problems in seeing; sudden difficulty walking; dizziness; or sudden onset of headache.

Researchers interviewed 28 parents whose child had a stroke about factors that contributed to delayed arrival to the hospital. The children were infants to teens. Symptoms of stroke didn't vary by age, although seizures were more common in younger children and strokes mostly occurred at home and to a lesser extent at school.

Though most of the parents thought the symptoms were serious, only about half called 9-1-1; 36 percent considered the possibility of stroke; and 21 percent had a "wait and see" attitude or called a relative before taking emergency action.

"Think stroke, act fast, and call 9-1-1," said Mark MacKay, M.D., lead researcher and director of the Children's Stroke Program at the Royal Children's Hospital and Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia. "That message applies to adults and children."

Median time from to emergency room arrival was 1.8 hours, with some taking as long as 24 hours.

In previous studies in the United States, Canada, England and Australia, the average time delay to diagnose stroke in children was more than 24 hours.

"Getting to the hospital quickly is an essential first step to develop strategies to improve access to emergency treatment in children," MacKay said.

Children won't receive the benefits of emergency clot-busting treatment unless "we develop strategies to improve the rapid recognition of ," he said. Clot-busting treatment must be started within three to four and a half hours of symptom onset.

Child neurologists should educate primary care physicians, pediatricians, heart specialists and emergency room physicians about stroke in children and parents of children with conditions associated with increased risk such as or heart conditions urgently need to be aware, MacKay said.

In the United States, 4.6 per 100,000 children (0 to 19 years) had a stroke in 1997-2003, according to the American Heart Association. Despite treatment, one of 10 with ischemic or will have a recurrence within five years.

Explore further: Video game teaches kids about stroke symptoms and calling 9-1-1

Related Stories

Video game teaches kids about stroke symptoms and calling 9-1-1

January 30, 2014
Children improved their understanding of stroke symptoms and what to do if they witness a stroke after playing a 15-minute stroke education video game, according to new research reported in the American Heart Association ...

Weather changes may be linked with stroke hospitalization, death

February 12, 2014
Stroke hospitalization and death rates may rise and fall with changes in environmental temperature and dew point, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2014.

Is clot-busting drug safe for kids with strokes?

February 17, 2012
New research looks at whether clot-busting drugs can safely be given to children who have strokes. The research was released today and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans ...

Cocaine may increase stroke risk within 24 hours of use

February 12, 2014
Cocaine greatly increases ischemic stroke risk in young adults within 24 hours of use, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2014.

Risk of death from ischemic stroke appears to have decreased in US black children

June 24, 2013
The excess risk of death from ischemic (due to reduced blood flow), but not hemorrhagic (due to bleeding), stroke in US black children has decreased over the past decade, according to a study by Laura L. Lehman, M.D., of ...

Recommended for you

Cholesterol crystals are sure sign a heart attack may loom

August 17, 2017
A new Michigan State University study on 240 emergency room patients shows just how much of a role a person's cholesterol plays, when in a crystallized state, during a heart attack.

How Gata4 helps mend a broken heart

August 15, 2017
During a heart attack, blood stops flowing into the heart; starved for oxygen, part of the heart muscle dies. The heart muscle does not regenerate; instead it replaces dead tissue with scars made of cells called fibroblasts ...

Injectable tissue patch could help repair damaged organs

August 14, 2017
A team of U of T Engineering researchers is mending broken hearts with an expanding tissue bandage a little smaller than a postage stamp.

'Fat but fit' are at increased risk of heart disease

August 14, 2017
Carrying extra weight could raise your risk of heart attack by more than a quarter, even if you are otherwise healthy.

Air pollution linked to cardiovascular disease; air purifiers may lessen impact

August 14, 2017
Exposure to high levels of air pollution increased stress hormone levels and negative metabolic changes in otherwise healthy, young adults in a recent study conducted in China. Air purifiers appeared to lessen the negative ...

Study hints at experimental therapy for heart fibrosis

August 14, 2017
Researchers report encouraging preclinical results as they pursue elusive therapeutic strategies to repair scarred and poorly functioning heart tissues after cardiac injury—describing an experimental molecular treatment ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.