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Cardioembolic Stroke in Children: A Clinical Presentation and Outcome Study

      Abstract

      Background

      Cardiac disease is a common cause of ischemic stroke in children. Limited information is available about its incidence and long-term outcome.

      Methods

      We undertook a retrospective study of children (age 0-17 years) with cardioembolic arterial ischemic stroke, occurring between 1992 and December 2007. Study subjects were observed at the Winnipeg Children's Hospital and identified using multiple databases and disease code searches.

      Results

      We identified 84 children with arterial ischemic stroke, 17 (20%) of which were cardioembolic stroke (15 non-neonates; 10 females; mean age 4.6 years). The crude annual incidence rate for cardioembolic stroke was estimated to be 0.39 and mortality rate of 0.046 per 100,000 person-years. Stroke occurred commonly in children <5 years (65%) and during hospitalization (65%). Initial presenting symptoms were focal deficits 12 (71%), altered consciousness 5 (29%), seizures 5 (29%), and headache 3 (18%). The mean stroke severity measured by Pediatric National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale was 14.5 (range 2-40) at presentation and 3.7 (range 0-9) at discharge, with mean acute recovery from stroke presentation to discharge of 9.94 (0-32). At 2 years, poor outcome was evident in 10 (59%) children: 2 or >2 Pediatric Stroke Outcome Measure score in 6 (35%), death in 2 (12%), and recurrent stroke in 2 (12%). Factors associated with poor outcome included headache (P = 0.048), high Pediatric National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale at presentation (r = 0.57; P = 0.05) and discharge (r = 0.58; P = 0.05), and high Pediatric Stroke Outcome Measure at discharge (r = 0.77; P = 0.0008).

      Conclusion

      Our cohort provides hospital-based incidence estimates for children with cardioembolic stroke. Pediatric National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale performed at different time points can be a helpful tool in measuring stroke recovery and needs to be further explored.

      Keywords

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