the risk of suffering a stroke is high with infants

When most consider the dangers of suffering a stroke, they more like than not to be thinking about an elderly relative, maybe even themselves. Most are definitely not considering a newborn child and even less so one that has not yet been born.

Still, according to a recent interview published in the Seattle Times, the risk of a stroke for infants — from one week prior to birth, to two or three weeks after — is about the same as the risk for a 65 or 70-year-old.

The problem is that most parents, and not many more pediatricians or family doctors, are conscious of this or know how to recognize the symptoms. However, strokes are one of the top 10 cases of death for infants, children and young adults. According to the Seattle Times, on average, at least one infant in every 4,000 live births will suffer a stroke.

It’s a high number.

Strokes in infants are not predominantly mortal, and far more than half of those affected will survive. However, about four out of every five will develop neurological deficits, such as cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is one of the most common afflictions suffered by infants who suffer complicated births.

While infant strokes are not often caused by medical malpractice, their effects can be greatly minimized by early diagnosis. In these cases, early treatment and therapy may even save a young child from years of doctor’s appointments, tests and rehabilitation.

Funding for research and treatment initiatives have been hard to come by. The American Heart Association and Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association are two of the organizations working to change this, but it’s a slow process.

Related Resource

  • Stroke in the top 10 causes of infant deaths (Seattle Times)

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