Arterial ischemic stroke is a rare but crucial cause of complications in children. Early diagnosis and treatment aid in preventing complications.
Arterial ischemic stroke
An arterial ischemic stroke is an injury in the spine or brain because of impaired oxygen and nutrient supply to the affected area. In most cases, ischemic stroke is caused by damaged or narrowed arteries or obstruction due to blood clots.
Fortunately, children recover quickly and completely as compared to adults. The reason is that young blood vessels and brains adapt quickly after an injury.
While some strokes have none or minimal effects, others can cause complications depending on the part of the brain affected, the severity of the stroke, and how early the treatment was initiated.
Complications may include sensory loss, weakness, language impairment, or visual changes.
Symptoms In Children
Symptoms of arterial ischemic stroke usually appear suddenly and affect one side of the child’s body. Newborns have no symptoms. Infants may have unusual irritability or seizures.
Symptoms in older children include:
- Numbness or weakness on one side of the body
- Seizures affecting one side of the body
- Difficulty in speaking
- Loss of balance or dizziness
- Trouble walking
- Vision problems
- A sudden severe headache associated with double vision, sleepiness, or vomiting
If your child has any of the mentioned symptoms, seek medical care immediately.
Two leading causes for obstructed blood vessels in children include:
Blood clots because of:
- Blood diseases such as clotting factors
- Severe infections
- Congenital heart conditions
- Abnormal blood clotting
Damage to or abnormalities of the arteries because of:
- Injury to the head or neck
- Inflammation of blood vessels
- A tear along lining of a blood vessel
The management of stroke in children is different from adults. A child with a stroke generally receives blood thinning drugs. They help in clearing the clot and improve the blood flow. The clot may be removed using catheter-based devices in certain cases (Uncommon). For inflamed blood vessels causing a stroke, medicines to soothe inflammation are required.
Once the blood flow is retrieved, the child may need some care, including physiotherapy exercises, to have a better quality of life.