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Endovascular therapy for acute stroke in children: age and size technical limitations


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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