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Why are pediatric strokes under-recognized?

Pediatric stroke is one of the top 10 causes of death in children.

Stroke in children is different than in adults. So why are they remain under-recognized? 

  • It is rare. Practitioners do not expect a child to present with symptoms of stroke and there may be a wide variety of other possibilities thought of first.
  • The symptoms are different and more subtle than in adults. In infants and small children, lethargy may be the only sign. In older children, headaches may be the only sign. 
  • The risk factors are different. May include multiple risk factors that practitioners may not fully be aware of. 

Due to these factors, there is a delay in diagnosis and subsequent treatment for children who are suffering a stroke.

The incidence of pediatric stroke does seems to be increasing due to increased awareness, recognition, and reporting; improvement in radiological tests specific to the pediatric population; and increasing survival rates of diseases that predispose children to stroke, such as prematurity, leukemia, and congenital heart disease. 

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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.