Can children suffer from a stroke?

According to the National Stroke Association (, 6 cases per 100,000 children less than the age of 15 years occur every year. Stroke and cardiovascular disease remains in the top 10 causes of death.

What are the main issues? Well, first and foremost, treatment is delayed because we typically do not first think that a child is having a stroke. In adults, they are taken to the emergency room within 12 to 24 hours after symptoms are noticed- for children this time is 48 to 72 hours! 

What causes pediatric stroke? Most often they are caused by birth defects, blood disorders, and trauma. But they can also be caused by infections -- especially those that affect the brain (meningitis). 

The symptoms do not vary much from those an adult would have. 
  • A sudden severe headache, difficulty speaking or forming the correct words, and numbness are all red flags to look out for. 
  • If the child has not developed verbally yet, it may be more difficult to notice. So watch for things like facial droop, inability to move an extremity, oversleeping, or inability to suck. 
  • If this occurs, remember to dial 911 immediately. This is vital to survival and to recovery. 

Although it is much less common, children can suffer from strokes. About 6 children in every 100,000 have a stroke each year. In adults, major risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, and obesity. In children, common causes of stroke include infections, birth defects, and blood disorders.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.