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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Pediatric & Adolescent Stroke

A stroke is a condition in which the blood supply to any part of the brain is interrupted by a blockage in a blood vessel or if the blood vessel bursts open. The blockage may occur due to a clot formation in an already narrowed blood vessel or a clot from somewhere else in the body may travel to the brain and block a small artery.

Causes of Stroke in Children

Strokes in children may be caused by a variety of conditions:

  • Previously undiagnosed heart malformations
  • Heart diseases
  • Infections
  • Complications of other illnesses, such as sickle cell disease
  • Whiplash injury to the neck, which damages an artery and leaves it vulnerable to blood clots
  • Plus many other possibilities—including those that are simply unknown

Incidence of Strokes in Children

Although strokes in children are not common, they happen more than might be expected, as many as 9,000 incidents a year. In newborns, estimates suggest that strokes may occur surprisingly at approximately 25 per 100,000 infants.


  • Severe headache
  • Slurred speech
  • One-sided paralysis or difficulty walking normally
  • Seizures
  • Vision disturbances
Last UpdateAugust 28, 2012