Pediatric Stroke Network, Inc. (PSN) is the first online support group for pediatric stroke to register with the American Heart Association.





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Causes of Childhood Stroke


The following are some causes of childhood stroke. Unfortunately, many children that have had strokes the cause is unknown.

Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome - What are Antiphospholipid antibodies?  Under normal circumstances, antibodies are proteins made by your immune system to fight substances recognized as foreign by your body. Some examples of foreign substances are bacteria and viruses. Sometimes the body's own cells are recognized as foreign. In the Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome the body recognizes phospholipids (part of a cell's membrane) as foreign and produces antibodies against them.

Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome Information Page


Arteriovenous malformation (AVM) - An arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a congenital disorder characterized by a complex, tangled web of arteries and veins.


Birth Injury - Events during the time of birth that can damage the developing brain.


Blood Clotting Disorders - Blood Clotting Disorders 


Brain Infections - Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain. There are many types of encephalitis, most of which are caused by viral infection. Symptoms include sudden fever, headache, vomiting, photophobia (abnormal visual sensitivity to light), stiff neck and back, confusion, drowsiness, clumsiness, unsteady gait, and irritability. Symptoms that require emergency treatment include loss of consciousness, poor responsiveness, seizures, muscle weakness, sudden severe dementia, memory loss, withdrawal from social interaction, and impaired judgment. Meningitis is an infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms, which may appear suddenly, often include high fever, severe and persistent headache, stiff neck, nausea, and vomiting. Changes in behavior such as confusion, sleepiness, and difficulty waking up are extremely important symptoms and may require emergency treatment. In infants symptoms of meningitis may include irritability or tiredness, poor feeding and fever. Meningitis may be caused by many different viruses and bacteria. Viral meningitis cases are usually self-limited to 10 days or less.

Congenital Heart Disease (CHD)

Disseminated intravascular coagulation - Disseminated intravascular coagulation occurs when the blood clotting mechanisms are activated throughout the body instead of being localized to an area of injury.


Drug Use - All of the disorders producing stroke in toddlers and school-aged children may still produce stroke in adolescents. However, an increasing percentage of strokes, of both ischemic and hemorrhagic types, occur in relation to drug use. The most common drug causing stroke is cocaine in its smoked form (crack). Smoked amphetamines (meth, ice, etc.). Any type of illicit drug injected into the bloodstream can produce stroke.


Embolus -A blood clot that has formed at the site of blockage or that has formed somewhere "upstream" in the arterial tree, has broken off, and been carried "downstream" in the blood flow through progressively smaller branches in the arterial tree, until it enters a vessel too small to fit through, plugging it closed.  An Embolus often forms within the heart or one of the larger arteries leading away from it, then breaks off and travels to the brain or another organ.


Factor V Leiden - Factor V Leiden is characterized by a phenomenon called APCR where a genetic mutation in the factor V gene causes a change in the factor V protein making it resistant to inactivation by protein C.

Factor V Leiden: Information & Support


Infection - Chicken Pox in extreme cases can be one cause of pediatric stroke.

Chicken Pox and Stroke


Moyamoya disease - Moyamoya Disease is a progressive disease that affects the blood vessels in the brain. It is characterized by narrowing and/or closing of the main artery to the brain. This lack of blood may cause paralysis of the feet, legs or the upper extremities. Headaches, various vision problems, mental retardation, and psychiatric problems may also occur.

Moya-Moya Information Page


MELAS - MELAS syndrome is one of a group of rare muscular disorders.  These rare muscular disorders are disorders in which a defect in genetic material arises from a part of the cell structure that releases energy resulting in disease of the brain and muscles. The most characteristic symptom of MELAS syndrome is recurring, stroke-like episodes in which sudden headaches are followed by vomiting and seizures. Short stature, an accumulation of lactic acid in the blood, and muscular weakness on one side of the body (Hemiparesis) are typically present. Visual symptoms may include impaired vision or blindness in one half of the visual field (Hemianopsia) and/or blindness due to lesions in the area of the brain concerned with vision (cortical blindness). Although the exact cause of MELAS syndrome is not fully understood, it has been found to run in families.


Polycythemia - An overproduction of blood cells, which can cause "thickening" of blood, increasing its viscosity and its clotting tendency.


Prematurity - Preterm or "premature" birth is when your baby is born three weeks or more before it's due date.


Sickle Cell Anemia/Disease - Sickle cell disease causes the red blood cells to make abnormal hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the part of blood that carries oxygen in the body. There are different kinds of sickle cell disease. Some kinds are mild, but others cause serious illness.  Sickle cell anemia is caused by Hemoglobin S, an abnormal type of Hemoglobin.  You inherit Sickle Cell Disease from both parents who are carriers of Hemoglobin S.

American Sickle Cell Anemia Association


Vasculitis - Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessel system, which includes the veins, arteries, and capillaries. Vasculitis may affect blood vessels of any type, size, or location, and therefore can cause dysfunction in any organ system, including the central and peripheral nervous systems. The symptoms of vasculitis depend on which blood vessels are involved and what organs in the body are affected. The disorder may occur alone or with other disorders such as temporal arteritis. Temporal arteritis (also called cranial or giant cell arteritis) is an inflammation of the temporal artery (which runs over the temple, beside the eye). Symptoms of this disorder may include stiffness, muscle pain, fever, severe headaches, pain when chewing, and tenderness in the temple area. Other symptoms may include anemia, fatigue, weight loss, shaking, vision loss, and sweats.





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