Arterial Ischemic Stroke Symptoms and Causes in Children

Causes of Arterial Ischemic Strokes 

Children’s arteries can become obstructed for a number of reasons. These fall in two main groups:

Blood clots caused by:

  • blood diseases, such as sickle cell anemia and clotting disorders
  • congenital heart disease, leading to clots that travel to the brain
  • serious infections
  • metabolic disorders
  • asphyxia around the time of birth (in newborns)

Damage to or abnormalities of the arteries, caused by:

  • accidents causing trauma to the head and neck
  • arterial dissection—a tear along the lining of an artery, caused by trauma or medical conditions that weaken the artery’s walls
  • moyamoya disease

Symptoms of Arterial Ischemic Strokes 

If your child has any of the symptoms below, don’t wait—go directly to an emergency room.

Symptoms typically start suddenly, and may affect just one side of the body. Newborns may show no noticeable symptoms, but some infants may have seizures or unusual irritability.

In older children, symptoms include:

  • seizures, especially affecting one side of the body
  • feeling weak or numb in the limbs, usually on one side the body or the face
  • trouble walking because of weakness
  • trouble speaking or understanding what others are saying
  • severe headache, especially one accompanied by sleepiness, double vision or vomiting
  • dizziness, loss of balance, or falling
  • vision problems in one or both eyes