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Endovascular therapy for acute stroke in children: age and size technical limitations
  1. Lisa R Sun1,
  2. Dana Harrar2,
  3. Gerald Drocton3,
  4. Carlos Castillo-Pinto2,
  5. Philippe Gailloud3,
  6. Monica S Pearl4,5
  1. 1 Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  2. 2 Neurology, Children's National Hospital, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  3. 3 Radiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  4. 4 Radiology, Children's National Hospital, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  5. 5 Radiology and Pediatrics, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lisa R Sun, Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA; lsun20{at}


Endovascular therapies for acute childhood stroke remain controversial and little evidence exists to determine the minimum age and size cut-off for thrombectomy in children. Despite this, an increasing number of reports suggest feasibility of thrombectomy in at least some children by experienced operators. When compared with adults, technical modifications may be necessary in children owing to differences in vessel sizes, tolerance of blood loss, safety of contrast and radiation exposure, and differing stroke etiologies. We review critical considerations for neurologists and neurointerventionalists when treating pediatric stroke with endovascular therapies. We discuss technical factors that may limit feasibility of endovascular therapy, including size of the femoral and cervicocerebral arteries, which contributes to vasospasm risk. The risk of femoral vasospasm can be assessed by comparing catheter outer diameter with estimated femoral artery size, which can be estimated based on the child’s height. We review evidence supporting specific strategies to mitigate cervicocerebral arterial injury, including technique (stent retrieval vs direct aspiration) and device size selection. The importance of and strategies for minimizing blood loss, radiation exposure, and contrast administration are reviewed. Attention to these technical limitations is critical to delivering the safest possible care when thrombectomy is being considered for children with acute stroke.

  • stroke
  • thrombectomy
  • pediatrics

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  • Contributors LRS and MSP conceived and designed the work, drafted the manuscript, and revised the manuscript. DH, GD, CC-P, and PG revised the manuscript for important intellectual content. LRS, DH, GD, CC-P, PG, and MSP approved the final version and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests PG reports personal fees from Cerenovus and grants from Siemens Medical outside the submitted work.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.