Stroke In Children

Stroke in infants and children presents unique challenges to parents, caregivers and researchers.

Pediatric Stroke

Finding the cause of a stroke is vital to provid­ing the right treatment and preventing more injury. Doctors can find a cause in about two-thirds of the cases.

A common cause of ischemic strokes is that a blood clot forms in the heart and travels to the brain. This can be caused by congenital heart problems such as abnormal valves or infections. In these cases children may need surgery or antibiotics.

Sickle cell disease is a blood disorder that’s associated with ischemic stroke. In sickle cell disease, the blood cell can’t carry oxygen to the brain, and blood vessels leading to the brain may have narrowed or closed. About 10 percent of children with sickle cell disease suffer a stroke1. There is a high risk of repeat strokes, but this can be reduced by blood transfusion.

Finally, ischemic strokes can be caused by trauma that injures large arteries and causes a loss of blood flow. For instance, a large artery might be injured when a child has a neck injury.

1 Cooperative Study of Sickle Cell Disease



Born to Survive (PDF opens in new window) 
In this feature story, we profile four families who’ve experienced the difficult reality of their children having a stroke. All of these families have learned to dream new dreams for their children.

Stroke in Infants (opens in new window)
Stroke is relatively rare in children and infants, but that fact doesn’t matter when you hear that your baby has had a stroke. This article examines initial and ongoing therapy for infants who’ve experienced stroke as well as emotional development.

Survivors From The Start (opens in new window)
Infants are at the same risk of having a stroke as are the elderly: One infant in every 4,000 live births has a stroke. We talked to a pediatric neurologist about what causes in utero stroke. We also interviewed three mothers of in utero stroke survivors about their children’s experience of stroke.

Growing Up A Survivor (opens in new window)
David Dow and Kasey Koller were 10 years old when they survived strokes. It was a parent’s worst nightmare. We chronicled their stories at the time. In this issue we catch up with them (and their parents) as they enter adulthood.

Read more stories


Find Support

Seeking support from others who've experienced stroke can be a huge benefit to recovery. Stroke groups afford the opportunity to share feelings, ideas and resources.  Find a group in your area.

Psychological Issues after Pediatric Stroke: What to Expect

The mental and emotional impact of a child having a stroke effects everyone who loves them. How cognition and behavior have changed tend to be discovered over time. Learn what to expect immediately after diagnosis and beyond.