Stroke in Children

What is a pediatric stroke?

Stroke is a general term that is used to describe an injury to the brain caused by either bleeding (referred to as hemorrhagic stroke) or a lack of oxygen due to vessel obstruction (referred to as ischemic stroke). A stroke usually implies some type of permanent injury to the brain. The term infarct or infarction may also refer to a stroke. When a stroke occurs in a newborn, it is called a neonatal stroke.

Stroke can occur at any time in a child's life. After the newborn period (the first 28 days of life), stroke is more rare, but can impart lifelong disability and in some instances can be fatal. This makes early recognition and treatment vitally important.


How we care for stroke in children

The diverse team of specialists in the Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center at Boston Children's Hospital provides fast, comprehensive evaluation to identify quickly if and why a stroke has occurred. We are skilled in administering therapies in the earliest stages of stroke that are designed to remove blockages of blood vessels in the brain.

If the stroke is caused by malformations of the blood vessels in the brain, our team in the Cerebrovascular Surgery and Interventions Center, can treat your child using surgical or catheter-based techniques.

Our team approach means that your child will benefit from the combined expertise of child neurologists, pediatric neurosurgeons, hematologists, pediatric physiatrists, neurointerventional radiologists, pediatric neuroradiologists, emergency medicine physicians, neuropsychologists, physical and occupational therapists and speech and language therapists. We also offer long-term multidisciplinary care to help prevent additional strokes in the future.