Diagnosis

The sooner a stroke in children is diagnosed and treated, the better the chance they will have to recover. In a child where the brain is still developing, the developing brain may be able to take over for the functions that have been lost as a result of the stroke. A physician can use a variety of tests and scans to learn what type of stroke has occurred, such as a clot or other occlusion in the blood vessel; bleeding into the brain; bleeding around the brain.

Brain scans Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scans can identify the affected area of the brain and reveal the status of the blood vessels. Younger children may need to be sedated for an MRI.

Blood tests A number of blood tests can be used to check for any chemical problems, infection, or blood clotting that may have caused the stroke. Some of the clotting tests may need to be repeated later on as they may be inaccurate if they are carried out too soon after the stroke.

Echocardiogram This ultrasound scan reveals the structure of the heart to check whether the stroke was caused by a clot moving from the heart to the brain. If traditional scans on the chest do not provide enough information, a more detailed scan can be done using a scanner placed in the child's throat while under general anesthesia.

Spinal tap In this test, a sample of cerebrospinal fluid is taken from the space around the spine to reveal if there is an infection or chemical imbalance in the body, as a cause or a result of the stroke.

Angiogram This test gives detailed information about the blood vessels in the brain and is

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