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Pediatric Stroke


Pediatric stroke is a rare condition in children. Prompt and appropriate treatment is essential since stroke in children can be life threatening and cause neurologic disability, including the risk of long-term cognitive and motor impairment.

Strokes can be categorized as ischemic (caused by insufficient blood flow) and hemorrhagic (caused by bleeding into the brain.) Treatments and the long-term outcome in children are different for each type.

Pediatric Stroke: What You Need to Know

Father and son together at computer

Stroke in children may begin suddenly. Symptoms may include (but are not limited to):

  • Weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • Slurred speech or difficulty with language
  • Trouble balancing or walking
  • Vision problems, such as double vision
  • Sudden lethargy or drowsiness
  • Seizure affecting one side of the body.

Stroke can be diagnosed with an MRI, and additional testing may reveal the cause of the stroke, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Problems with blood vessels supplying the brain
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Sickle cell disease.

Treatment involves medical therapy with aspirin or other blood thinners to support blood flow to the brain.

If there is a problem with the blood vessels, your doctor may also recommend a catheter procedure.

Sometimes surgery is necessary to prevent another stroke.

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Drs. Felling and Sun with their patient after pediatric stroke

Pediatric Stroke: When tPA Is the Best Choice

When Ruth, a 9-year-old girl, was rushed to the ER with a blockage in her cerebral artery, pediatric neurologists Lisa Sun, M.D. and Ryan Felling, M.D. sprang into action, with only a narrow window of time to implement treatment with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). Read about Ruth's pediatric stroke treatment.



Why Choose Johns Hopkins for Pediatric Stroke?

Our Physicians

Our team includes Dr. Ryan Felling and Dr. Lisa Sun, some of the few child neurologists in the country with specialized training in stroke and cerebrovascular disease, as well as specialists in interventional radiology and pediatric and developmental cerebrovascular disease.

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Our Expertise

The Johns Hopkins Hospital is certified as a comprehensive stroke center by the Joint Commission and the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems. 

Our Patient Care

Johns Hopkins offers a comprehensive continuum of care from the acute phase through recovery, partnering with the world-renowned Kennedy Krieger Institute for pediatric neurorehabilitation.

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Maryland Patients

Pediatric Neurology: 410-955-4259


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Whether you're crossing the country or the globe, we make it easy to access world-class care at Johns Hopkins.

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