When most people think of stroke, they imagine older patients, but it is possible to have a stroke at any age, even during infancy. Pediatric stroke occurs in about 11 in 100,000 children annually, and many of these children are under the age of 2. This condition is among the top ten causes of death in children, so it is important to recognize the risks and signs to ensure proper care when pediatric stroke occurs.
Pediatric stroke risk factors
In adults, the risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries, but these conditions are not often seen in children. With pediatric stroke, risk factors are related to existing conditions such as head or neck trauma, preeclampsia during pregnancy, arterial diseases, congenital heart defects, and immune disorders.
Signs and symptoms
Common symptoms of stroke like drooping of the face or extremities on one side of the body, slurred speech, and confusion may be seen in children who are suffering from stroke, but these symptoms may not be as apparent in infants who are unable to communicate. Other signs that may be clearer include seizures, excessive sleepiness, and favoring one side of the body. In older kids and teens, stroke may cause severe headaches, vomiting, dizziness, and loss of coordination.
Recovery from pediatric stroke
Because children’s brains are still developing, stroke tends to have less of a lifelong impact on pediatric patients. Even still, it is important to seek immediate care when you suspect a stroke in your child or infant, since emergency care for stroke can have a strong impact on long-term rehabilitation.
At Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas, you will find a dedicated pediatric ER where your child will have the care he or she needs in the fact of any emergency. Our campus also features a neonatal intensive care unit and a wide range of pediatric care sub-specialists to provide the right care for the youngest members of your family. To learn more about our hospital or check current ER wait times, call us at (702) 233-5437.