Subcortical Infarction in Children

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Background and Purpose

This report examines the occurrence of subcortical infarction in 5 children, reviews the English literature, and discusses evaluation of this uncommon childhood illness.


Clinical characteristics and neurological follow-up were examined in children who presented with subcortical infarction within the past 7 years. The English literature over the previous 20 years was reviewed to identify similar patients with radiological documentation of subcortical infarction.


Mean age of the patients in this series was 4.8 years (range, 4 months to 12 years); 3 children were female. Three patients presented with the sudden onset of hemiparesis, 1 with dystonia, and 1 with fever and focal seizures. Protein C deficiencies were demonstrated in 2 children; a cardiomyopathy was seen in 1 patient. Mean follow-up was 1.5 years. Two patients were neurologically normal, mild residual symptoms persisted in 2, and 1 patient showed severe dystonia. The literature analysis indicated that specific risk factors were described in 79 patients; complete clinical analysis was available for 51 patients. In the latter group, the mean age was 5.7 years; 26 children were female. Forty-six presented with hemiplegia, 4 with dystonia, and 1 with focal seizures. Follow-up greater than 5 months in 29 patients showed complete or good resolution of deficits in 23. Specific risk factors such as infection, trauma, hematologic disorders, or cardiac or vascular abnormalities were identified in 62 of 79 children.


This analysis indicates that children with subcortical infarction usually presented with acute hemiparesis. Risk factors were identified in the majority of children, and follow-up demonstrated good or complete resolution of neurological deficits in 80% of the patients.

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