Stroke Outcomes Similar in Children and Young Adults

Cause of stroke differs; severity is similar and predicts outcome in children and young adults

FRIDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- Children and young adults who experience acute ischemic stroke tend to have similar stroke severity and clinical outcomes, even though they have different etiology and risk factors, according to a study published online March 21 in the Annals of Neurology.

Sandra Bigi, M.D., of the University Hospital Bern in Switzerland, and colleagues compared the clinical characteristics, stroke etiology, work-up, and outcome among Swiss children (aged 1 month to 16 years) and young adults (aged 16.1 to 45 years) with acute ischemic stroke between 2000 and 2008. Information on children was gathered from a nationwide registry, and for young adults, from a hospital-based registry. Stroke severity was measured using the adult and pediatric National Institutes of Health Stroke Scales.

The researchers found that, among the 128 children and 199 young adults who suffered acute ischemic stroke, both the severity of the event and the outcome at three to six months were similar. Mortality was also similar between the groups. A less severe stroke was the most important predictor of a favorable outcome. Compared to young adults, children with stroke were more likely to be male (P = 0.023), and less likely to have high blood pressure (P = 0.001), high cholesterol (P = 0.003), or a family history of stroke (P = 0.048). Whereas cervicocerebral artery dissection was a more frequent etiology among young adults, "other determined cause" was more likely among children.

"Stroke etiology and risk factors in children and young adults were different, but stroke severity and clinical outcome three to six months after acute ischemic stroke were similar. Further research is needed to determine long-term outcome and quality of life after acute ischemic stroke in children and young adults," the authors write.

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