Contraceptive pill, smoking linked to childhood stroke risk

Washington: Researchers have found the combined effects of oral contraceptives plus smoking or anaemia as one of the risk factors of childhood stroke.

Researchers are calling for clear guidelines on childhood stroke after a study found wide variations in time lag to diagnosis, investigation and treatment.

They are also keen to see the development of appropriate rehabilitation services, after a follow-up study found that 85percent of the children who survived a stroke had neurological dysfunction or limitations.

Dr Sten Christerson studied the records of all children who had experienced their first stroke over a seven-year period in the Uppsala-Orebro Health Care Region, which covers a fifth of the Swedish population.Childhood stroke is defined as a cerebrovascular event occurring between 28 days and 18 years of age," wrote Christerson.

"Studies in Europe and the United States have found that childhood stroke affects between 2.1 to 13 children per 100,000 a year and we found an incidence of 1.8.

"Although childhood stroke is not as common as many other childhood illnesses, it is a serious condition that results in considerable long-term ill health and severe functional disabilities," Christerson said.

The study was published in the November issue of Acta Paediatrica.