Pediatric Stroke and Its Mimics: Limitations of a Pediatric Stroke Clinical Pathway

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7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Acute stroke protocols improve delivery of care but it is unclear whether these resource intensive protocols are able to differentiate stroke from mimics in children. The aim of this study is to describe our institution's experience with stroke mimics identified through our pediatric stroke clinical pathway (PSCP). Methods: The PSCP was implemented in our level 1 pediatric emergency department in June 2014 for children aged one month to 18 years. For patients managed using the PSCP from June 2014 to December 2016, demographic and clinical data were compared for patients diagnosed with stroke or a stroke mimic. Results: A total of 59 children were evaluated with the PSCP. Fourteen children were identified as having a stroke and 45 children had stroke mimics. The most common stroke mimics were functional neurological disorders (20.0%), transient neurological deficits (17.8%), migraine (15.6%), and seizure (11.1%). Patient demographics and time to neuroimaging did not differ between patients with and without stroke. Vomiting was commonly reported by patients with stroke (odds ratio: 4.00, 95% confidence interval: 1.12 to 14.35), whereas weakness was not (odds ratio: 0.7, 95% confidence interval: 0.07 to 0.90), but the physical examination did not differ between patients with and without stroke. Conclusions: The PSCP ensures timely evaluation of patients presenting with neurological deficits but fails to reliably differentiate between patients with stroke and patients with stroke mimics. Further multicentered studies are needed to develop a “stroke screen” that reliably distinguishes pediatric stroke from its mimics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-41
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Neurology
Volume80
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Keywords

  • clinical pathway
  • pediatrics
  • stroke
  • stroke mimic

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