Cerebrovascular Accidents

Also known as: CVA, stroke

What are cerebrovascular accidents?

The most common types of strokes in children are when the blood flow to the brain is interrupted due to a blood vessel rupturing (hemorrhagic stroke) or a blockage occurs - 2 types; when an artery is blocked it's called an arterial ischemic stroke (AIS) and when a vein is blocked, it is called a cerebral sinovenous thrombosis (CSVT). Stroke is not uncommon in children occurring particularly before and immediately after birth (perinatal period) until 1 month of age, and, between 1-18 years of age.

What causes cerebrovascular accidents?

The causes of stroke in babies and children are different to those of adults. In the newborn baby (the 1st month of life) strokes may result from problems occurring late in pregnancy and during delivery. In many infants no cause can be found. Risk factors for older children include congenital heart abnormalities, sickle cell anemia, immune disorders and blood clotting problems.

What are the symptoms of cerebrovascular accidents?

In newborns, sleepiness, moving only parts of the body or just one side, or seizures are quite common. In older children a severe headache, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, new seizures, loss of balance, numbness on one side of the body (including the face, arms and legs), blurry vision, and trouble walking, may all be symptoms of a stroke.

What are cerebrovascular accidents care options?

Treatments depend on the age of the baby/child and the specific cause (where known), and will include treating the underlying cause, symptoms, minimizing brain damage and providing long term rehabilitation therapy.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: March 20, 2019 03:58 PM