Childhood stroke

Paediatric stroke

HCA UK offers urgent treatment for a child who has had a stroke and a multi-disciplinary rehabilitation programme to help recovery

Can a child have a stroke?

A stroke can occur in children as young as 29-days-old. As with adults, a childhood stroke will either be caused by a blockage in the blood supply to the brain (ischaemic) or when the blood leaks from a burst blood vessel to the brain (haemorrhagic).

Strokes in children are often caused by existing conditions such as congenital heart disease or sickle cell. In babies, they may be caused when blood clots from the placenta lodge in the brain.

Need to know

  • What are the symptoms of childhood stroke? icon plus

    Signs of a ischaemic stroke include:

    • sudden weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
    • facial drooping
    • speech problems
    • headaches

    Signs of haemorrhagic stroke include:

    • vomiting
    • seizures
    • occasional headaches

    If your child displays these symptoms, it's a medical emergency. Dial 999 immediately. It can be harder to spot symptoms when the stroke happened before or around birth, but there may be delayed development or trouble moving one side of the body.

  • How is a stroke diagnosed in a child? icon plus

    A consultant paediatric neurologist will examine your child immediately. They will most likely send your child for an MRI or CT scan to confirm they've had a stroke.  At HCA UK we have radiolographers who are experience with scanning children and will talk you through the process. Both scans display the affected area of the brain, as well as the blood vessels. This should take around an hour.

    If your consultant is worried that your child is losing consciousness, a neurosurgeon may operate immediately to relieve pressure on the brain. Your child may also be given heart examination tests, such as an echocardiogram or angiogram which are none invasive. These scans can help determine a burst vessel or a tear or blockage in a blood vessel leading to the brain. Your consultant may also use blood tests to  investigate and find underlying causes.

  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    If your child's stroke has been caused by a blood clot (ischaemic), they may be given blood-thinning medicine to prevent a stroke from happening again.

    When your child is well enough, a team of neurorehabilitation specialists will help your child adapt to the lasting effects of a stroke. These specialists include:

    • a paediatric physiotherapist to help with movement
    • an occupational therapist specialising in children's therapy to help manage day-to-day tasks
    • a paediatric speech and language therapist to help with improving speech
    • a psychologist to help your child deal with the psychological effects of the stroke and improve cognitive skills.

    Our dedicated multidisciplinary team will help your child for as long as they are needed.

Our neurologists consultants

At HCA UK we have a network of neurological services to helpful support a variety of neurological conditions in children including stroke. 

Our locations

From complex neurology paediatric treatment to diagnostic tests and procedures, we provide exceptional neurological care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Book an appointment

Our team can help with any enquiries or you can make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

Call us today

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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