Stroke Facts, Signs & Symptoms
According to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the most common signs and symptoms of stroke in children and teenagers include the sudden appearance of:
- Weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, usually on one side of the body
- Trouble walking due to weakness or trouble moving one side of the body, or due to loss of coordination
- Problems speaking or understanding language, including slurred speech, trouble trying to speak, inability to speak at all, or difficulty in understanding simple directions
- Severe headache especially with vomiting and sleepiness
- Trouble seeing clearly in one or both eyes
- Severe dizziness or loss of coordination that may lead to losing balance or falling
- New appearance of seizures, especially if affecting one side of the body and followed by paralysis on the side of the seizure activity
- Combination of progressively worsening non-stop headache, drowsiness and repetitive vomiting, lasting days without relief
Source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
A Stroke Can Happen at Any Age
This Is Pediatric Stroke
The International Alliance for Pediatric Stroke is an organization comprised of pediatric neurologists, advocacy organization leaders, and parents of children impacted by stroke. In partnership with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, they present this informative video to help raise awareness that stroke can happen to infants, children and even before birth.
What Is Pediatric Stroke?
A stroke happens when blood flow to an area of the brain is obstructed, either by a blood clot or a damaged blood vessel. When either of these things occurs, brain cells start to die and brain damage can occur.
Stroke is the sixth leading cause of death in children. Despite this, most people are unaware that stroke can even happen to children. This lack of awareness coupled with the fact that the symptoms and causes of pediatric stroke vary widely means that often the recognition of stroke is delayed or missed entirely in children.
It is common for children exhibiting symptoms of a stroke to be misdiagnosed with other illnesses like epilepsy, migraines, or viral infections. Incorrect diagnosis often results in delay of critical care, which is essential during the first hours and days after a stroke in order to provide optimal long-term functional outcomes.
Did you know?
Pediatric stroke affects 25 in 100,000 newborns and 12 in 100,000 children under 18 years of age.
Information, Education and Compassion
Helpful Support Resources
International Alliance for Pediatric Stroke
The IAPS provides leadership for partnerships with global pediatric stroke communities for advancing awareness, knowledge, and research for babies and children who have been impacted by stroke.
Pediatric Stroke Warriors
Founded in 2015, Pediatric Stroke Warriors strengthens communities through family support, advocacy in education and dissemination of current resources related to stroke in children.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is the nation’s first hospital devoted exclusively to the care of children. Their pediatric stroke program provides a wealth of online support and information.