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Hemorrhagic stroke in children

Evelyn Shih, MD, PhD
Lauren Beslow, MD, MSCE
Section Editors
Scott E Kasner, MD
Douglas R Nordli, Jr, MD
Deputy Editor
John F Dashe, MD, PhD


Although less common than in adults, hemorrhagic stroke can affect children, resulting in significant morbidity and mortality.

An overview of hemorrhagic stroke in children beyond the newborn period is provided here. Other clinical aspects of stroke in neonates and children are reviewed elsewhere. (See "Stroke in the newborn: Classification, manifestations, and diagnosis" and "Ischemic stroke in children and young adults: Etiology and clinical features" and "Ischemic stroke in children: Evaluation, initial management, and prognosis" and "Ischemic stroke in children: Secondary prevention" and "Cerebral venous thrombosis: Etiology, clinical features, and diagnosis".)


Hemorrhagic stroke encompasses spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage, isolated intraventricular hemorrhage, and nontraumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage [1]. Intracerebral hemorrhage is defined by intraparenchymal hemorrhage or a combination of intraparenchymal and intraventricular hemorrhage (image 1).

Despite its common usage, the term hemorrhagic stroke remains confusing. It has been used to denote hemorrhagic transformation of arterial ischemic stroke or of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, but it does not encompass those entities, strictly speaking.


Although stroke in children is relatively rare compared with adults, it is a significant cause of childhood death and lifelong disability. A stroke suffered within the first decade may cause functional sequelae for multiple decades to follow. Hemorrhagic stroke is a notable contributor to childhood morbidity and mortality, as it accounts for about half of all childhood strokes, compared with <20 percent of adult strokes [2,3].

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Dec 21, 2016.
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