Stroke is one of the top 10 causes of death among children according to the National Stroke Association. A new study published today shows that in New Jersey, the diagnosis of ischemic stroke in children, resulting from a loss or obstruction of blood to the brain, is on the rise. The research, published in Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, was conducted by researchers at the Cardiovascular Institute of New Jersey (CVI) at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
"This is the first statewide study that examines the incidence and long-term mortality from all types of stroke in New Jersey children from one month to 19 years of age," said Sampada Gandhi, MBBS, MPH, instructor of medicine and primary author of the study. "The data report on an important trend for which little evidence exists, but which is imperative for physicians to understand to improve diagnosis and treatment in children with stroke."
The researchers used the Myocardial Infarction Data Acquisition System (MIDAS) to examine the incidence of, and fatality from, ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke (resulting from internal bleeding in the brain) in children from 1994 to 2007. MIDAS is a statewide database coordinated by CVI that tracks hospitalizations for myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, other vascular diseases, and deaths from 1986 to the present. The research also included a review of mortality rates at 30-days, one year and five years after initial stroke diagnosis.
The data show an initial decrease in the incidence of ischemic stroke in children from 1994 to 2001, but an increase in pediatric ischemic stroke thereafter. The study also shows that pediatric hemorrhagic stroke is twice as likely to be fatal when compared to ischemic stroke, but the incidence of hemorrhagic stroke remained stable throughout the 14-year study period.