Stories about: Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center

Arteriopathy and stroke: What’s the connection?

Arteriopathy is a common cause of stroke in children

You might think of stroke as an older person’s problem, but this type of brain injury can affect kids, too. In fact, each year, an estimated up to 5 out of every 100,000 kids have a stroke. Many of these are arterial ischemic strokes, which result from obstruction of blood flow by clots, narrowed or damaged arteries or both. Here, Dr. Laura Lehman, Outpatient Medical Director of the Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, shares what parents need to know about one of the more common causes of stroke.

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Striking a balance: Charlie’s recovery from neonatal stroke

Charlie is making progress recovering from a stroke.

“Hey, Charlie,” says Dr. Michael Rivkin as he gently dangles a small rubber ducky in front of the little boy. “Would you like this?” A wide smile breaks out across the toddler’s face. Why yes, he certainly would like that duck. He reaches and grasps at it, closing his tiny fingers around the toy.

For Charlie Strzempek, it’s nothing more than a playful act. But for his parents, Kathleen and Tom, it’s a major accomplishment. Dr. Rivkin isn’t simply offering his patient a toy. He’s testing his ability to grab and hold an object in his right hand — the side of his body affected by a neonatal stroke.

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Bouncing back: Nolan’s life after stroke

Nolan experienced a stroke during or following his birth.

Although he’s only a little over a year old, Nolan Morel is a bona fide charmer. Clad in a red shirt and navy blue suspenders, he flashes a happy grin at his mother, Rosalia; his physician, Dr. Laura Lehman; and the others in the room. “Look at those dimples!” someone coos, and he giggles in response. “I can’t believe how social he’s being,” laughs Rosalia. “He wasn’t always like this.”

In fact, Nolan’s first several days of life were anything but lighthearted. Just a few hours after his birth at a hospital north of Boston, he stopped breathing and had to be manually resuscitated and given oxygen. When these frightening episodes continued on and off for the next day, his physicians contacted the Critical Care Transport team from Boston Children’s Hospital.

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Cadagan: Humor and tenacity after a stroke

Treatment for stroke has helped Cadagan thrive.

Most parents try to discourage their children from indulging in humor about bodily functions like burping. But for Daniel and Lori Hooley, a simple smirk in response to a belch was the sign they needed that their daughter, Cadagan, was going to be okay.

It was 2012 and 7-year-old Cadagan was asleep, tucked into bed for the night. Around 11 p.m., she suddenly awoke — but it wasn’t because of a nightmare or a late-night request for a glass of water. Instead, she seemed limp and couldn’t focus. Then she began throwing up. Born with an extremely rare genetic disorder called trisomy 12p, the little girl had already experienced her share of health challenges. But this was something different.

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