Arterial Ischemic Stroke (AIS) in Children

By avn
7:58 am Posted June 8, 2016
In Stroke

Arterial Ischemic Stroke also referred to as AIS, occurs when blood flow into an artery leading to the brain is blocked. This blockage of blood may occur in several ways that include:

  • Embolism – Blood clots may form in any other part of the body and then travel to the brain.
  • Thrombosis – Blood clot may form in an artery that supplies blood to the brain.
  • Clotting disease -This is a medical condition wherein blood thickens and clots.
  • Damaged Arteries – The arteries may have been damaged due to a trauma, leaving the inner linings of the artery rough where blood clots get stuck. Over a period of time, these can clog the arteries preventing sufficient blood flow.
  • Narrow Arteries – Children with narrow arteries get stroke even if a tiny clot stops the flow of blood to the brain.

The blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain and if the parts of a brain cannot get sufficient blood flow, the cells start dying and may not function properly.

Causes of Arterial Ischemic Stroke in Children

It is difficult to assess what exactly causes an arterial block leading to stroke in a child.

Some of the causes include:

  • Heart disease – mostly a birth defect
  • Moyamoya disease
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Chronic, metabolic disorders
  • Head and Neck radiation for cancer
  • Drug abuse
  • Narrow or damaged blood vessels in the neck and brain region
  • Injury in head and neck region
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Childhood diseases such as Chicken pox

Symptoms of Arterial Ischemic Stroke:

The onset is usually sudden in teenagers and children when they experience this stroke. They may have one or more of the following symptoms

  • Numbness in face, arm, leg on one side of the body
  • Trouble with vision – not being able to see clearly in one or both the eyes
  • Slurred speech, inability to speak or make use of the language
  • Sudden Dizziness or Unsteadiness
  • Severe headaches especially with Vomiting, double vision or sleepiness
  • Trouble walking due to weakness or trouble moving one side of the body.
  • Seizures

Treatment for Arterial Ischemic stroke in children

Once Acute Ischemic stroke occurs, doctors focus on things that prevent the stroke from getting worse. This includes ensuring that the child has sufficient fluids (usually administered intravenously through a needle into the vein) and making them lie flat. Medications to help reduce any pain symptoms may also be given.
Further treatment varies depending on the suspected cause of the stroke. Sometimes, the treatment may focus on the prevention of any further blood clots in which case, anti coagulant or an anti platelet medication is prescribed. Other aspects of the treatment include ensuring optimum blood sugar levels and preventing a fever.

Recovery after Arterial Ischemic Stroke in children

The extent of recovery post a stroke depends on the location of the stroke and its severity. While some children may get away with mild problems, some may have lasting effects and continue to have seizures.
Based on the extent of stroke, rehabilitation is recommended that includes Occupational therapy, Physical therapy and Speech therapy for further recovery.
Ayurveda is extremely effective in the rehabilitation process. Apart from Internal medicines that are administered to help in restoring the nervous system function, a wide range of therapies are available that aid the recovery process. Nasyam is one therapy where medicated oil is instilled into the nostrils thereby helping the repair of the nervous system in addition to strengthening the nerves. Vasthi is another procedure of administrating medicated enemas’ through the rectum thereby changing the neuro transmitter levels in the body and improving the neurological function. There are also a wide range of oil massages available which help improve the micro vascular circulation thereby strengthening the nerves and muscles.
Ayurveda used in conjunction with physio, occupational and speech therapy, is extremely effective in rehabilitating a child and helping him return to normalcy as soon as practically possible.
It is on a long term process that may last from weeks to months depending on the child’s needs but the fact remains that children recover faster as compared to adults.

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