By Elizabeth Chen MD PGY-3
Acute Ischemic Stroke (AIS) in the pediatric population is extremely rare, has many mimics, and often presents with signs and symptoms that differ from a typical “adult” stroke. Because the goal for diagnosis and treatment of AIS in adults is 4 hours, these differences often lead to delayed recognition and treatment. In a Canadian study, median interval from time of onset to diagnosis was 22.7 hours. When a stroke occurred in hospital, it still took 12.7 hours to diagnose. When a child had a stroke out of the hospital, it took on average 1.7 hours for patients to present to the hospital, indicating that the time delay to diagnosis was often on the part of the medical staff. Currently, only a handful of large, dedicated pediatric centers have pediatric stroke teams similar to the typical adult “code stroke” teams found in most communities. These pediatric teams are equipped to diagnosis and potentially treat children with AIS quickly but most hospitals are not. The key to improve care for children in the community is for all emergency physicians to be well trained on how to recognize and evaluate children for stroke.
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