Author(s): YockCorrales A, Mackay MT, Mosley I, Maixner W, Babl FE
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Abstract STUDY OBJECTIVE: Little is known about the presenting features of acute ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke in children presenting to the emergency department (ED). Yet, initial clinical assessment is a key step in the management pathway of stroke. We describe the presentation in the ED of children with confirmed acute ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke subtypes. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective descriptive case series of consecutive patients aged 1 month to younger than 18 years and presenting to a single-center tertiary ED with radiologically confirmed acute ischemic stroke or hemorrhagic stroke during a 5-year period. Patients were identified by medical record search with International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision codes for hemorrhagic stroke and through the hospital stroke registry for acute ischemic stroke. Signs, symptoms, and initial management were described. RESULTS: Fifty patients with acute ischemic stroke and 31 with hemorrhagic stroke were identified. Mean age was 8.7 years (SD 5.2), and 51\% were male. Fifty-six percent were previously healthy. Median time from onset of symptoms to ED presentation was 21 hours (interquartile range 6 to 48 hours) for acute ischemic stroke and 12 hours (interquartile range 4 to 72 hours) for hemorrhagic stroke. Acute ischemic stroke presented with symptoms of focal limb weakness (64\%; 95\% confidence interval [CI] 49\% to 77\%), facial weakness (60\%; 95\% CI 45\% to 73\%), and speech disturbance (46\%; 95\% CI 31\% to 60\%). Few patients with acute ischemic stroke presented with vomiting and altered mental status. Most patients with acute ischemic stroke had a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 14 or greater (86\%; 95\% CI 73\% to 94\%) and presented with at least 1 focal neurologic sign (88\%; 95\% CI 73\% to 98\%). Hemorrhagic stroke presented with headache (73\%; 95\% CI 54\% to 87\%), vomiting (58\%; 95\% CI 40\% to 75\%), and altered mental status (48\%; 95\% CI 30\% to 67\%). GCS score in hemorrhagic stroke was less than 14 in 38\% and less than 8 in 19\% (95\% CI 7\% to 37\%). Less than one third of patients had focal limb weakness, facial weakness, or slurred speech. Nineteen percent of patients with hemorrhagic stroke were intubated in the ED and admitted to the ICU. None of the acute ischemic stroke patients were intubated in the ED, and 4\% were admitted to the ICU. CONCLUSION: Diagnosis of stroke in children with acute ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke was delayed. Acute ischemic stroke presented mainly with focal findings; hemorrhagic stroke, with headache, vomiting, and mental status change. Copyright © 2010 American College of Emergency Physicians. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Ann Emerg Med
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Case Reports