Background/Hypothesis: Stroke in children ≤18 years is an important public health problem. The incidence of stroke in adults has been falling over several decades, likely attributable to better management of vascular risk factors. Children have different risk factors for cerebrovascular disease, however we wanted to see if similar trends were observed in pediatric stroke. We examined pediatric hospital discharges for stroke over the last decade.
Methods: We used the Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) for 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2009 using the published weighting guidelines to estimate the number of overall discharges and number of discharges due to stroke. To identify stroke we queried primary position discharge ICD-9 stroke codes 430, 431, 432.9, 434.X1, 434.9, and 435.9; previously identified to have high PPV for detection of stroke in children in a physician-verified epidemiology stroke study. We calculated incidence for stroke among hospitalized children as number of stroke discharges / total number of discharges, and expressed the ratio per 100,000 discharges. We compared trends in stroke type, age, race and sex over the decade.
Results: Stroke incidence in 2000 was 26.4 (95% CI 23.2-29.6). In the 2009 sample, incidence was 30.9 (27.7-34.1) showing a non-significant increasing trend over time. Ischemic stroke was increasingly diagnosed over the same interval with a statistically significantly higher incidence in 2006 and 2009 compared to 2000 (Figure 1). Groups with highest stroke incidence in hospitalized children were 10-14 year olds, males, and children identifying with the racial group “black.”
Conclusion: In the KID database, we identified a rising incidence of ischemic stroke diagnosis over the past decade, however the overall rate of pediatric stroke has not increased significantly. The increasing rate of an ischemic stroke discharge diagnosis may be the result of increased awareness of childhood stroke.