Stroke in children is relatively rare, but can have a profound impact on a child’s health and development. Early intervention by a team specially trained in children's unique needs can result in fewer complications and better outcomes.
At Children’s National Hospital, infants and children with stroke-related brain injury receive comprehensive care from an experienced multidisciplinary team that recognizes symptoms quickly and takes immediate action with advanced procedures and therapies. Our expert physicians, nurses, neuropsychologists and speech, occupational and physical therapists work together to help your child recover as quickly as possible – and keep you involved as an important part of our care team.
Pediatric Stroke Care at Children’s National: Why Choose Us?
Children’s National is one of the few hospitals in the country with a specialized, multidisciplinary team of childhood stroke experts and offers the only comprehensive pediatric stroke program in the greater Washington, D.C., area. We are national leaders in the care of every kind of stroke that affects infants and children, including arterial ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, and cerebral sinovenous thrombosis, and we care for a large number of patients each year. Our neonatal critical care and neurology programs are ranked among the very best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, providing you with confidence that your child is receiving the highest quality care.
What You Can Expect:
- Rapid, comprehensive evaluation including advanced neuroimaging to quickly identify if and where a stroke has occurred
- Access to therapies administered in the few hours following a stroke
- Identification and correction of risk factors, to prevent additional strokes
- Rehabilitation therapies for improved long-term outcome
- Support for children and parents for dealing with the consequences of a stroke
- A choice of stroke clinics for follow-up visits between the main hospital and Children's National Montgomery County, to make appointments easier for patients and families
Expert Stroke Care for Infants and Children
Although adults are most at risk for stroke, strokes can occur at any age, even before a child is born. Our team is experienced in the care of all stroke types including arterial ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke and cerebral sinovenous thrombosis. We have special interest in hyper-acute intervention, perinatal stroke and strokes that occur in children with sickle cell disease.
Strokes in the young are most likely to occur around the time of birth. This type of stroke is typically referred to as a "perinatal stroke" but can also be called a "neonatal stroke." A perinatal stroke is when a blood clot travels to the baby's brain around the time of birth (28 weeks gestation to 28 days of life), and the brain is injured from lack of blood flow to the area affected. At Children’s National, we have a neonatal neurology team with extensive expertise in the diagnosis and care of infants with perinatal stroke. Recognizing the symptoms of stroke and initiating treatment quickly is critical to minimizing damage to the brain and having the best possible outcome.
Childhood stroke is a stroke that occurs in a child who is between 29 days of life and 18 years of age. We provide specialized care for a variety of childhood strokes, including:
- Arterial ischemic stroke
- Hemorrhagic stroke
- Cerebro Venous thrombosis
- Strokes associated with cardiac disease
- Strokes associated with sickle cell disease
- Strokes associated with abnormal blood vessels (i.e. vasculopathy) including moyamoya, focal cerebral arteriopathy (FCA), arterial dissection and arteriovenous malformations (AVM)
Treatments for these conditions are highly specialized and personalized for each of our young patients. Care may include medication, surgery, neurointerventional therapies and/or rehabilitation. We have a dedicated team of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) staff available for both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative services who are dedicated to maximizing long-term outcomes.
Research and Clinical Trials
Our team is dedicated to the care and treatment of children who suffer from strokes. Research is a big part of the process of improving care and we participate in research in all stroke types. If you are interested in participating in research, let one of our team members know or call 202-476-2120 to find out what studies you may be eligible for.
Our patients may be also eligible for clinical research protocols at a number of centers, including Children’s National and the National Institutes of Health.
To provide your child with the best care possible, our board-certified team includes highly-skilled specialists in the following divisions:
- Critical Care Medicine
- Neonatal and Intensive Care Units (NICU)
- Neurointerventional Radiology
- Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
In addition to our team, your child has access to physicians in more than 40 pediatric sub-specialties at Children’s National — the largest pediatric specialty presence in the Washington, D.C., region. We also recognize that rehabilitation care is a key component of post-stroke care and we have a dedicated team of PM&R experts available for both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative services.
Children’s National offers a wide range of resources to support patients and their families during their time with us. These include our child life specialists, our creative and therapeutic arts programs and our spiritual care team.