Stories about: stroke

HPN helps football fan thrive

Rithvik has his blood pressure tested at an HPN appointment
PHOTOS: SOPHIE FABBRI/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

At 13, Rithvik Kottapalli isn’t just a New England Patriots fan — he’s been a passionate devotee since he was a toddler. “He started young,” laughs his mother, Lakshmi. The boy’s adoration even buoyed him along after he experienced a major stroke four years ago. As he recovered at Boston Children’s Hospital, “He couldn’t remember his own name,” says Lakshmi. “He didn’t know that I was his mom.”

Yet when a clinician asked him who his favorite Pats player was, Rithvik had an answer right away. “[Rob] Gronkowsi,” he murmured — twice.

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Banding together: Finding support for pediatric stroke

stroke recovery
Surrounded by his family, Patrick walks unassisted after recovering from a stroke.

Cristina Murphy is the daughter of a cardiologist, but even she wasn’t aware that stroke could occur in children — until her young son Patrick had one. Her vibrant little boy was just a toddler when he was rushed to the emergency room for what his parents and their pediatrician initially assumed was a severe stomach bug. But further testing confirmed the unimaginable: Patrick had experienced a rare bilateral cerebellar stroke.

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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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