Presentation of Acute Childhood Stroke in a Tertiary Pediatric Emergency Department

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The aim was to describe clinical presentation, management, and outcomes of stroke in a tertiary emergency department (ED) of a developing country.


Retrospective case series of patients aged 1 month to 18 years presenting to an ED with radiological confirmed acute stroke during a 7-year period were studied.


Ninety-five patients were identified. Twenty-five patients were excluded because of incomplete records (8) or not presenting via ED (17). Thirty-four (48.5%) were diagnosed with hemorrhagic stroke (HS), 30 (42.8%) with arterial ischemic stroke (AIS), and 6 (8.5%) with sinus venous thrombosis (SVT). Mean age was 5.3 years, and 55.3% were male. The median time from onset of symptoms to ED presentation was 24 hours (mean, 55 hours; interquartile range [IQR], 14–72) for AIS, 24 hours (mean, 46.9 hours; IQR, 9–48) for HS, and 120 hours (mean,112 hours; IQR, 72–168) for SVT. Congenital cardiac disease was the most common risk factor (9%). For AIS, the most common symptoms were focal numbness 56.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 37.8%–75.4%), focal weakness 56.6% (95% CI, 37.8%–75.4%), and seizures 50% (95% CI, 31%–68.8%). For HS, the most common symptoms were headache 64.7% (95% CI, 47.7%–81.6%), vomiting 79.4 (95% CI, 65–93.7), and altered mental status 64.7% (95% CI, 47.7–81.6). Computed tomography scan was done in 100% of the patients and magnetic resonance imaging in 54%. Twenty-five (36%) patients were admitted to intensive care unit and required intubation. Long-term deficit was identified in 24 (36%) patients based on medium-term follow-up.


The spectrum of stroke in a developing country was similar to published series from developed countries in terms of final diagnosis, risk factors, and delay to ED presentation, neuroimaging, and long-term neurodeficits. No tropical diseases were identified as risk factors.

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