Most people think of a stroke as something that happens to older people. But a stroke can happen to anyone, including teenagers, children, newborns and even unborn babies. In fact, stroke is one of the top 10 causes of death in children.

What Is a Childhood Stroke?

A stroke occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops because of a clot (ischemic stroke) or because a blood vessel ruptures (hemorrhagic stroke). Blood carries oxygen and other nutrients to the body’s cells and organs. When they cannot reach the brain for more than three minutes, brain cells begin to die. The brain cells continue to die for as long as they are deprived of oxygen. 

At this time, no treatment exists to fix brain cells that have died. Prompt diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation therapy can save a child’s life and minimize long-term disability.