Monday, February 21, 2011

Pediatric Stroke: Impacts as many Children as Leukemia & Brain Tumors



The 33 News

"Boom," Dr. Michael Downing said while pointing at an MRI scan. "That white spot is a stroke."

Alma Rodriguez listened as Dr. Dowling explained what happened to her 16-year old son Danny.

Two weeks ago Danny was playing his favorite sport when suddenly he felt something was wrong.

"I was playing baseball and all of the sudden I felt really dizzy," Danny said. "I started vomiting and my head hurt."

That was in El Paso where he suffered a stroke--he was flown to Children's Medical Center in Dallas--Alma still can't believe her son suffered not one, but two strokes.

"I was very, very surprised because I was like, he was very healthy and he has a lot of condition," Alma said. "I was surprised, very very surprised."

Dr. Dowling is the director of Children's Medical Center's Pediatric Stroke Program where he see's about 100 young stroke patients a year.

In about six months Children's will take part in a nationwide study to test the clot busting drug 'tissue plasminogen activator' or tPA.

It works in adults and doctors want to see if it's safe for kids--and if so--establish a proper dosage. The drug has to be used within 4 ? hours of a stroke.

Pediatric stroke can lead to a lifetime of physical disabilities--including speech difficulties, learning problems and even death.

Dr. Dowling wants to know why kids suffer strokes.

"The death rate from stroke in children is somewhere between five and ten percent," Dr. Dowling said. "Another 70% of children who have stroke are left with some neurologic damage."

Dr. Dowling believes a heart infection may have caused Danny's stroke--clots formed--broke off and then blocked blood flow to the brain.

The drug study may help the next Danny who has a stroke.

"Our goal is to decrease the mortality rate, to decrease the level of neurologic injury in all of these kids," Dr. Dowling said.

Danny will be on blood thinners for six months and is expected to lead a perfectly normal life which includes baseball.


gereth said...

Babies who have strokes in the womb or during the first month of life are especially at risk of cerebral palsy. Strokes are slightly more common in children under two years.
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