In America, about 10 out of 100,000 children fall victim to heart stroke each year. In its first ever release of guidelines on diagnosing and treating strokes in children, the American Heart Association has said strokes in children is uncommon, but no longer as rare. E. Steve Roach, MD, and professor of pediatric neurology at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, said children face the highest risk of a heart stroke during the first two months after birth.

Children generally have a different kind of stroke than adults. While, 80% of adult stroke is ischemic (blockage in the vessel cuts off blood supply to the brain), it’s only 55% among children. The remaining 45% of the children fall victim to hemorrhagic strokes that result in death due to bleeding in the brain.

Even the risk factors are also different between adults and children. While, most adults have factors like high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, or other arterial problems, among children the most common causes are sickle cell disease and heart disease.

Roach has further revealed that strokes are the first warning signal of these diseases and hence it is so essential to promptly recognize and diagnose a stroke. Treating the cause reduces the likelihood of additional strokes, he added.

Further elaborating on the matter Roach said that in newborns, the first symptom is often seizures of an arm or leg. However, seizure is a less common stroke symptom in adults. Modern imaging technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), and computed tomography (CT) scans are very helpful in diagnosis and help prevent neurological damage and future strokes. The guidelines have been published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.