Stroke is a condition that is often associated with older people, but anyone at any time can have a stroke, including babies and children. The causes for stroke in children are very different from those of adults.
Every year about two children in every 100,000 will have a stroke. Sometimes strokes occur in babies before they are born with an estimate of one newborn in every 2,300 – 5,000 having a stroke.
Some families feel it is important that more people know about childhood stroke, they have told their stories.
Here is a video about Indiana and mum Tammy talking about her stroke.
Here is a link to Daisy Pritchard’s facebook group
What causes stroke in children?
The causes are poorly understood with little published research.
All strokes, regardless of age, are a result of disruption of blood going to or from the brain resulting in brain cells dying and permanent damage potentially occurring. The reason for this disruption may be different for children and adults.
A number of medical conditions can increase the chance of your child having a stroke. These include:
• Some types of heart disease or heart surgery
• Abnormal or inlamed blood vessels in teh brain
• Blood clotting problems
• Low blood count
• Central venous catherters
• Some types of cancer
• Recent major infections around the ear sinuses or nose
• Some viral infections (for example research has shown that chickenpox may cause ischaemic stroke in children)
• Head injury
• Prolonged low blood pressure
• Brain tumours
• Other conditions such as sickle cell disease and thalassaemia.
About a quarter of all children who have had a stroke do not have any of these risk factors. It is unknown why these children have strokes.
Discuss with your doctor your child’s risk factors and the potential causes of the stroke.
Here are some more facts about stroke and children from Dr. Mark Mackay, Paediatric Neurologist, Children’s Neuroscience Centre, Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne.