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Hemostatic and Thrombotic Considerations in the Diagnosis and Management of Childhood Arterial Ischemic Stroke: A Narrative Review.

Although rare in children, arterial ischemic stroke (AIS) is associated with increased mortality and neurological morbidity. The incidence of AIS after the neonatal period is approximately 1-2/100,000/year, with an estimated mortality of 3-7%. A significant proportion of children surviving AIS experience life-long neurological deficits including hemiparesis, epilepsy, and cognitive delays. The low incidence of childhood AIS coupled with atypical clinical-presentation and lack of awareness contribute to delay in diagnosis and consequently, the early initiation of treatment. While randomized-clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy and safety of reperfusion therapies including thrombolysis and endovascular thrombectomy in appropriately-selected adult patients, similar data for children are unavailable. Consequently, clinical decisions surrounding reperfusion therapy in childhood AIS are either extrapolated from adult data or based on local experience. The etiology of childhood AIS is multifactorial, often occurring in the setting of both acquired and congenital risk-factors including thrombophilia. While multiple studies have investigated the association of thrombophilia with incident childhood AIS, its impact on stroke recurrence and therefore duration and intensity of antithrombotic therapy is less clear. Despite these limitations, a significant progress has been made over the last decade in the management of childhood AIS. This progress can be attributed to international consortiums, and in selected cohorts to federally-funded clinical trials. In this narrative review, the authors have systematically appraised the literature and summarize the hemostatic and thrombotic considerations in the diagnosis and management of childhood AIS focusing on the evidence supporting reperfusion therapies, relevance of thrombophilia testing, and duration and drug choices for secondary-prophylaxis.

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