Specific strategies for primary and secondary stroke prevention in children and young adults can only be recommended once the causes of stroke in these age groups are well described. ICD-9 codes were used to identify children aged 1 to 18 years with acute ischemic stroke. Young adults aged >18 to 45 years were identified from the Indiana University and Northwestern University Young Adults Stroke Registries. Validated criteria were used to subtype ischemic stroke as atherothrombotic (AT), cardioembolic (CE), small- vessel (SV), other determined cause, or unknown cause. Ninety-two children and 116 young adults were identified. Stroke subtypes in children/young adults (percentages) were as follows: AT 0/16 (p < 0.001), CE 15/14 (p = 1.0), SV 0/3 (p = 0.26), other 49/44 (p = 0.40), and unknown 36/23 (p = 0.04). Children had more prothrombotic causes (25% versus 14%, p = 0.03), and young adults had more dissections (3% versus 15%, p = 0.005). Children aged 15 to 18 years had causes of ischemic stroke more similar to those in young adults. The cause of ischemic stroke is less often identified in children than it is in young adults. Children have more prothrombotic causes of stroke, and adults have more atherothrombotic causes and dissections. Lacunar strokes are rare in both children and young adults. The age of 15 years should be used to separate childhood from young-adult ischemic stroke.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology