Prothrombotic disorders and ischemic stroke in children
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Childhood ischemic stroke, including arterial ischemic stroke (AIS) and sinovenous thrombosis (SVT), is relatively rare in children but can result in devastating morbidity and mortality. An understanding of the etiology of childhood stroke is important because strategies for primary and secondary prevention can be devised. Prothrombotic disorders may contribute to the etiology of childhood stroke, and include deficiencies of antithrombin, protein C, protein S, plasminogen, and presence of Factor V Leiden, Prothrombin gene G20210A, dysfibrinogenemia, antiphospholipid antibodies, hyperhomocysteinemia, and elevated lipoprotein (a). The overall incidence of prothrombotic disorders in childhood AIS is estimated to be 20% to 50% in most studies and, in childhood SVT, to be 33% to 99%. In addition, hyperlipidemia, polycythemia, iron deficiency anemia, and platelet disorders may result in a prothrombotic state associated with ischemic stroke. The etiologic contribution of these prothrombotic disorders to initial and recurrent stroke has not been clearly defined; however, additional risk factors are usually present in affected children. Given the prevalence of prothrombotic disorders in childhood stroke, and their likely causative role, children with stroke should be screened for prothrombotic disorders. Future prospective and multicenter studies will elucidate the contribution of specific prothrombotic disorders to initial and recurrent stroke, and optimal therapy.
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