Childhood strokes in China describing clinical characteristics, risk factors and performance indicators: a case-series study

Aim

To investigate clinical characteristics, risk factors (RFs), neurologic deficits and medical care provided in children who had a stroke in China.

Methods

We conducted a retrospective case-series study using the medical records of children aged 1 month to 18 years with arterial ischaemic stroke (AIS) or haemorrhagic stroke (HS) (with the entry codes I60, I61, I62, I63 (ICD-10)), who were admitted to different hospitals in Beijing, between January 2018 and December 2018. We obtained the following information from the charts: demographic characteristics, clinical presentations, RFs for paediatric stroke, laboratory examination, neuroimaging records and neurologic sequelae.

Results

We identified 312 first admissions for stroke (172 AIS and 140 HS). The mean age at onset was 8.6±3.9 years for patients who had an AIS and 8 (5–13) years for patients who had an HS. There were more males than females in both groups (AIS: 59.88% vs 40.12%; HS: 52.14% vs 47.86%). A known aetiology was identified in 92.44% and 86.43% of patients who had an AIS and HS, respectively. The leading cause of AIS was cerebrovascular diseases including moyamoya (68.6%), while that for HS was arteriovenous malformation (51.43%). The most common initial clinical presentation was hemiplegia (86.05%) in patients who had an AIS and headache (67.86%) in patients who had an HS. The use of healthcare, including acute treatment (antithrombotic in 17.44%, anticoagulant in 5.23%) and secondary prevention (antithrombotic in 6.39%, anticoagulant in 1.16%), varied and was significantly lower among patients who had an AIS. The most common complications were epilepsy (22.09%) and pneumonia (4.65%) in patients who had an AIS and epilepsy (17.14%) and hydrocephalus (12.14%) in patients who had an HS. Neurological deficits occurred in 62.8% of patients who had an AIS and 72.86% of patients who had an HS.

Conclusion

Cerebral arteriopathy was a major RF for both AIS and HS in children living in China. Large epidemiological studies are required to identify RFs to prevent stroke as well as appropriate interventions.

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