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Stroke

Stroke

A stroke happens when a blockage or a rupture of a blood vessel in the brain prevents normal flow of oxygen to the brain. Strokes typically happen to older people, like grandparents – but they can also happen to children. Stroke is an emergency at any age! 

While strokes are not common in children, they are still one of the top 10 leading causes of death in kids.

Time is brain: Know stroke risk factors

Lack of awareness that strokes can happen to children can often delay diagnosis. Know the signs of a stroke and when to call 911. 

While the cause of a stroke isn't always determined, risk factors for kids can include: 

  • Congenital heart disease
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Problems with blood vessels supplying the brain
  • Infection

Often, risk factors are unknown.

Time is brain: Know symptoms of a stroke

Common stroke symptoms include:

  • One sided weakness or numbness (face, arm or leg)
  • Slurred speech
  • Sudden confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding others
  • Difficulties with balance and coordination
  • Sudden loss of vision or double vision

Less common symptoms include: 

  • Severe sudden headache, especially with vomiting and sleepiness
  • Seizure in someone who doesn't have a seizure disorder, usually on one side of the body

Stroke symptoms in neonates (infants less than one month old) include:

  • Seizures – one sided rhythmic movements/twitching that doesn't stop when you touch them
  • Developmental delays
  • Decreased movement or weakness, usually on one side   

When seconds matter most, choose the experts at CHoR

Our team is experienced in the art and science of caring for those suffering from a pediatric stroke. Our pediatric stroke protocol launches a team into place within minutes when a stroke alert is activated. 

CHoR is an integral part of VCU Health's certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, the first in the Commonwealth, staffed 24/7 by board-certified neurologists, neurosurgeons and pediatric intensivists. Our center offers 24/7 access to life-saving stroke care, including surgery and other advanced procedures like mechanical clot retrieval (thrombectomy) performed by specially-trained endovascular neurosurgeons.

Thriving after a stroke

The full team is here to care for your child. Our rehab team includes specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Our goals after stroke are to decrease balance and visual issues; re-teach skills like speech and concentration; eliminate pain; and increase motor control and function.

Post-stroke care and appointments

804-828-CHOR (2467)
Children's Pavilion

Therapy services are offered at six convenient locations in central Virginia, Fredericksburg and Stafford.

If you think your child is experiencing a stroke call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Support after a stroke

International alliance for pediatric stroke  
Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association
Bellaflies Foundation
Sickle Cell Disease Association of America
Stroke Association

Find a Location

Locations

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Lawrence Morton
Lawrence Morton MD Neurology Read more
John Collins
John Collins MD Neurosurgery, Craniofacial care, Spasticity Clinic, Spina Bifida Clinic Read more
Michele Ellett
Michele Ellett MSN, RN, CPNP Neurosurgery Read more
Amy Harper
Amy Harper MD Neurology, Muscular Dystrophy Clinic Read more
Debra Hearington
Debra Hearington PNP Neurology Read more
David Jaffe
David Jaffe MD Neurology Read more

Patient story

Hunter's story

All things considered, thankful is an understatement.