A stroke in a child is rare (about two per 100,000 in the United States). Prompt evaluation by a specialized team familiar with childhood stroke is recommended. At Children's National Health System our pediatric specialists treat many patients with a variety of different strokes each year.
It is important for parents and caregivers to recognize the signs of a stroke and take immediate action. Early intervention from a specially trained acute care team can help minimize complications and the risk of permanent disability.
Why a Pediatric Stroke Team is Critical
The Neonatal and Childhood Stroke Program at Children's National is one of the few comprehensive stroke teams in the country. We are experienced in the care of all stroke types that affect children (e.g. arterial ischemic strokes, hemorrhagic strokes and cerebral sinovenous thrombosis). The reasons why children have strokes is generally different from adults and outcomes tend to be more favorable.
Our team has a special interest in neonatal and perinatal strokes. We have a neonatal neurology team knowledgeable in acute care of infants with strokes and a weekly stroke clinic for long term management of stroke survivors.
For our older children, we have special interest in a variety of vasculopathies that lead to both hemorrhagic and ischemic infarcts:
- Sickle cell vasculopathy
- Focal cerebral arteriopathy / Transient cerebral arteriopathy
- Moya moya syndrome and disease
- Arterial dissections
- Arteriovenous malformations (AVM)
Our comprehensive pediatric stroke team includes specialists skilled in the diagnosis of stroke and its various causes as well as appropriate interventions including treatment with antithrombotic medications, exchange transfusion, surgery (e.g. EDAS), IR therapies including embolization and supportive care to minimize secondary injury. We recognize rehabilitation care is a key component of post-stroke care and we have a dedicated team of PM&R physicians and Physiatrists available for both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative services.
Our stroke team is composed of specialists divisions such as:
In addition to our team, your child has access to physicians in more than 40 pediatric sub-specialties at Children’s National — the largest pediatric specialty presence in the Washington, DC, region.
Research and Clinical Trials
We are dedicated to improving care and treatment for children who suffer from strokes. Program Director Jessica Carpenter, MD, participates in the International Pediatric Stroke Study (IPSS). The program is part of the Cerebral Infarction Transfusion (SIT) trial and the HUG trial a hydroxyurea trial aiming to prevent organ damage in children with sickle cell.
Patients seen in the Stroke Clinic may be eligible for clinical research protocols at a number of centers including Children’s National Health System and the National Institutes of Health.
For more information about current research and clinical trials, speak with a member of your child’s care team.