Introduction: Stroke is among the top 10 causes of death in children. Survivors face many potential years of disability but few studies have explored factors which contribute to poor outcome. Our aims were to describe factors associated with mortality, neurological disability and recurrence in a population of Australian children with arterial ischaemic stroke (AIS).
Methods: Prospective consecutive single centre cohort study of children 1 month-18 years with AIS, from 2003-2013, who underwent standardised diagnostic work up. The NINDS common data element framework was used to select risk factors, laboratory and radiological variables of interest. The Paediatric Stroke Outcome Measure (PSOM) was used to classify neurological outcome at 12 months and the CASCADE system was used to classify aetiology. Recurrence was defined as clinical (completed stroke/TIA) or radiological event with new infarction. Chi2 analyses were used to identify risk factors for poor outcome.
Results: A total of 126 cases of childhood AIS were identified. 6% of children died, 27% had recurrent events (21 clinical, 5 radiological strokes, 9 TIAs). 63% of children had poor neurological outcome (total PSOM≥2) with motor disability (53%) being most common. Male gender, prothrombotic disorders and cortical infarct location were significantly associated with mortality (P<0.05). Hemiparesis, facial weakness, visual disturbance or altered consciousness at presentation, non-atherosclerotic arteriopathies and infection were significantly associated with poorer neurological outcome (p<0.05). Arteriopathies, multiple infarcts and haemorrhagic transformation were associated with recurrence (p<0.05).
Conclusion: The economic and social costs of childhood AIS are likely substantial because long term neurological deficits are common. The finding that arteriopathies are a risk factor for recurrence is consistent with data from overseas. These findings will inform development of longitudinal multicentre Australian studies of childhood AIS.