Childhood stroke – Sinovenous Thrombosis (CSVT)

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Update Date 12/05/2020
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Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) is a medical condition where a blood clot forms in the brain’s venous sinuses – a channel that receives blood from internal and external veins of the brain. This prevents blood from draining out of the brain. If this channel is malfunctioned, blood cells can leak into the brain tissues, forming a hemorrhage (an escape of blood from a ruptured blood vessel). Having a hemorrhage in the brain can lead to a stroke in adults and children. It can occur even in newborns and babies in the womb.

The risk of CVST in children and infants

In children, especially, CSVT is increasingly diagnosed as a cause of stroke in children and infants. Scientists suggest that there might be a connection between CSVT and brain damage in these children. The risk factors for stroke in children and in newborns are slightly different, but there are some overlaps:

  • Problems with the way their blood forms clots;
  • Sickle cell anemia;
  • Chronic hemolytic anemia;
  • Beta-thalassemia major;
  • Heart disease – either congenital (you’re born with it) or acquired (you develop it);
  • Iron deficiency;
  • Certain infections;
  • Dehydration;
  • Head injury;
  • For newborns, a mother who had certain infections or a history of infertility.

How to manage the risk of CVST in children

More than 40% of childhood CSVT occurs within the first month after the child is born, with an incidence of 2.6 per 100,000 children per year. To avoid CVST, you can control the treatable risk factors:

  • Anemia is frequently observed in children with CSVT. You should make sure that your child is getting enough vitamins and iron in their daily diet. Iron deficiency anemia is often associated with CSVT.
  • Dehydration is another important treatable risk factor. Your child needs to get enough hydration from drinks to keep the brain function healthily.
  • Some common illness such as inflammatory bowel disease, meningitis and diabetes are connected with CSVT. Teach your child about hygiene and get vaccinations are recommended.
  • Keep your child safe and protect their head from injury. Having a head injury in children can easily lead to stroke.

CSVT is an underdiagnosed but important cause of stroke in childhood occurring most often in the neonatal period. The number of children affected is increasing. However, there are several unanswered questions regarding CSVT, thus the need for further high-quality studies and where possible – well-conducted randomized controlled trials.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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