Many Causes Can Be Behind Kids' Strokes

They include chickenpox and anemia, British study contends

FRIDAY, Nov. 15, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Strokes in children have complex causes and doctors treating kids who suffer strokes need to look beyond the obvious causes to find treatable risk factors, says a British study in today's online edition of Annals of Neurology.

The study included 212 children (average age 5) with strokes who were treated over 22 years at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

About half (97) of them had some pre-existing medical condition -- such as congenital heart disease and sickle cell disease -- that predisposed them to stroke.

However, the researchers also found a number of other less obvious and treatable stroke risk factors in the 212 children, including abnormalities in the cerebral arteries, infections such as chickenpox, and anemia due to iron deficiency.

The findings confirm there are many different factors that can contribute to strokes in children, the authors say. They say all children who have a stroke need to have comprehensive evaluations, even if the cause may seem to be obvious, such as in children with congenital heart disease or sickle cell disease.

Childhood stroke is fairly rare, but may be on the increase. One reason for that is because improved medical care means children with congenital heart disease and sickle cell disease live longer and are more likely to suffer strokes.

More information

Learn more about stroke at the American Stroke Association.

SOURCE: Annals of Neurology, news release, Nov. 15, 2002
Consumer News