What is arterial ischemic stroke (AIS)?
An arterial ischemic stroke (AIS) occurs when blood flow in an artery to the brain is blocked by narrowing of the artery, or when a blood clot forms in the artery and blocks the supply of blood to a part of the brain. Ischemia, or ischemic, comes from the Greek word to “keep back” or “stop” the supply of blood to an area.
A blockage of blood flow in an artery can happen in several different ways:
- Embolism: The blood clot can form in some other parts of the body (often the heart). When traveling through body, it gets stuck in a blood vessel of the brain. This moving clot is often called an embolus or embolism. A child with underlying heart disease is likely to experience this condition most of the time.
- Thrombosis: The blood clot can form over time in an artery that supplies blood to the brain. It can eventually block the supply of blood to the brain and even the artery. This clot is sometimes called a thrombus.
- Clotting disease: Thick blood. In some children, there are underlying conditions that make their blood thicker than usual, even clot.
- Narrow arteries: Some children may have arteries that are strangely narrow. This situation can lead to a high risk of stuck clots in arteries. Sometimes, even small clots cannot travel throughout and cause a decrease in blood flow; to a limit a stroke occurs.
- Some children’ arteries are damaged by trauma or inflammation. These arteries have rough or jagged inner linings where blood clots can get stuck. When the blood clots build up enough, the artery can be clogged and prevent the blood from flowing through.
For many children, it can be hard to figure out exactly what causes the artery blockage that led to stroke. Some of the leading causes of childhood stroke include:
- Heart disease – mostly congenital heart defects (present at birth);
- Sickle cell anemia;
- Narrow or damaged blood vessels in the brain or neck;
- Accidents affecting the head and neck regions;
- Blood clotting disorders;
- Moyamoya disease;
- Head and neck radiation for cancer;
- Serious infections, especially meningitis from bacteria;
- Drug abuse;
- Other childhood diseases such as chicken pox;
- Chronic metabolic disorders.
What you can do
If your child is experiencing any of the symptoms of a stroke, you should:
- Call to your nearest hospital emergency department right away.
- Have your child lie flat.
- Do not let your child eat or drink at the time.
Immediately after the stroke, the treatment given to your child will focus on preventing the stroke from getting worse. Keeping the child lying flat and continue the treatment will vary depending on the suspected cause of the stroke. Some treatments may focus on preventing blood clots from happening in the future.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnose or treatment.
Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
Arterial Ischemic Stroke (AIS). http://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/arterial-ischemic-stroke-ais#.V9Z5Kfl97IU. Accessed September 22, 2016.