Emergency Medicine: Rapid Response to Pediatric Strokes

Every minute counts when a child is showing signs of stroke. According to the National Stroke Association, children with symptoms of stroke are not taken to the hospital as quickly as adults because of the belief that children rarely have strokes.

Rapid response and expert care

The Children's Hospital Emergency Department has a rapid response stroke protocol that quickly brings together a care team from Emergency Medicine, Neurology, Radiology, Hematology, Critical Care, and other specialties. During an emergency, patients and parents have access to some of the best pediatric stroke experts in the nation. We are one of the few hospitals in the nation with a board-certified pediatric stroke specialist and a vascular neurosurgeon with expertise in pediatric strokes.

Care beyond the emergency

Diagnosing and treating strokes just begins in the Emergency Department. Children's Hospital provides expert evaluations, consultations, treatment, and follow-up care at our Pediatric Stroke Clinic.

Warning signs of stroke include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing
  • Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Think F.A.S.T.

Use the F.A.S.T. test to know and respond to signs of stroke

F = Face - Ask the child to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A = Arms - Ask the child to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S = Speech - Does the child's speech sound slurred or strange?
T = Time - If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1. Note the time symptoms first occurred.