Stories about: stroke

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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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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