Pediatric Stroke: Overview and Recent Updates.
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Stroke can occur at any age or stage in life. Although it is commonly thought of as a disease amongst the elderly, it is important to highlight the fact that it also affects infants and children. In both populations, strokes have a high rate of morbidity and mortality. Arguably, it is more detrimental in the pediatric population given the occurrence at a younger age and therefore, a longer duration of disability, potentially over the entire lifespan. The high rate of morbidity and mortality in pediatrics is attributed to significant delays in diagnosis, as well as misdiagnosis. Acute stroke management is time dependent. Patients who receive acute treatment with either intravenous (IV) tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) or mechanical thrombectomy, have improved mortality and functional outcomes. Additionally, the earlier treatment is initiated, the higher the likelihood of preserving penumbra, restoring cerebral blood flow and potentially reversing symptoms, thereby limiting disability. Prompt identification is essential as it leads to improved patient care in such a narrow therapeutic window. It enhances the care received during hospitalization and reduces the risk of early stroke recurrence. Despite limited data and lack of large randomized clinical trials in pediatrics, both IV tPA and mechanical thrombectomy have been successfully used. Bridging the gap of acute stroke management in the pediatric population is an essential part of minimizing adverse outcomes. In this review, we discuss the epidemiology of pediatric stroke, the diverse etiologies, presentation as well as both acute and preventative management.