Kids Have Strokes More Often Than Thought
Study Shows Strokes in Children Are Rare, but Occur More Often Than Earlier Estimates
Sept. 17, 2009 - Strokes in children are rare -- about 2.4 per 100,000 kids
per year in the U.S. -- but that's two to four times more often than previous
estimates, new data show.
Strokes in children are particularly heartbreaking as they often result in a
lifetime of special needs.
It's an important cause of childhood disability. But fortunately, it's
relatively rare for a child to suffer a stroke.
Previous estimates were based on surveys of hospital diagnostic codes. But
that method missed a lot of child strokes, find Nidhi Agrawal, MD, of the
University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues.
Instead of relying upon codes, Agrawal and colleagues searched through
records of 2.3 million kids and teens under age 20 in the Kaiser Permanente
They looked not only at hospital diagnoses but also at key phrases in
radiology reports that might indicate a stroke. When they identified suspicious
cases, they reviewed the patient's medical records.
"Our overall ischemic stroke incidence rate of 2.4 per 100,000 person-years
is two- to four-fold higher than previously published estimates in U.S.
children that also included perinatal strokes," Agrawal and colleagues
Their findings were published online ahead of print in the American Heart
Association journal Stroke.