Original Article| Volume 58, P53-56, May 2016

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Sensitivity and Specificity of an Adult Stroke Screening Tool in Childhood Ischemic Stroke

  • Kerri Neville
    Department of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio
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  • Warren Lo
    Communications should be addressed to: Dr. Lo; EDU 582; 700 Children's Drive; Columbus, OH 43205.
    Department of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

    Department of Neurology, The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio
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      There are frequent delays in the diagnosis of acute pediatric ischemic stroke. A screening tool that could increase the suspicion of acute ischemic stroke could aid early recognition and might improve initial care. An earlier study reported that children with acute ischemic stroke have signs that can be recognized with two adult stroke scales. We tested the hypothesis that an adult stroke scale could distinguish children with acute ischemic stroke from children with acute focal neurological deficits not due to stroke.


      We retrospectively applied an adult stroke scale to the recorded examinations of 53 children with acute symptomatic acute ischemic stroke and 53 age-matched control subjects who presented with focal neurological deficits. We examined the sensitivity and specificity of the stroke scale and the occurrence of acute seizures as predictors of stroke status.


      The total stroke scale did not differentiate children with acute ischemic stroke from those who had acute deficits from nonstroke causes; however, the presence of arm weakness was significantly associated with stroke cases. Acute seizures were significantly associated with stroke cases.


      An adult stroke scale is not sensitive or specific to distinguish children with acute ischemic stroke from those with nonstroke focal neurological deficits. The development of a pediatric acute ischemic stroke screening tool should include arm weakness and perhaps acute seizures as core elements. Such a scale must account for the limitations of language in young or intellectually disabled children.


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